Living World

Jackdaw Roost

Episode 1 Jackdaw Roost



Jackdaws are one of the most intelligent species in the animal world, and live in multi-tiered social groups that roost on the same sites for hundreds of years — some were even mentioned in the Domesday Book. Corvid scientist Dr Alex Thornton believes that watching a group of jackdaws coming into roost ranks with any wildlife spectacle the world over — and it’s on our doorstep.

In this programme he shares with us this remarkable and beautiful sight — thousands of birds are silhouetted against the darkening sky, swirling like a black snowstorm, until, as if a collective decision has been made, they settle into the trees like a mass of black dots. Breathtaking.


New series. Aspects of the British countryside. Joanna Pinnock visits Cambridgeshire to observe the social habits of jackdaws, and discovers scientists still have much to learn about their behaviour. She also watches the birds roosting at dawn, accompanied by zoologist Alex Thornton, who explains why their eyes are of particular interest to biologists.