The jackdaws are refurbishing their nest in the chimney pot vents. Mr. Jackdaw had brought back a variety of twigs and popped up the vent to install them, and everything was going splendidly until he appeared very proudly with rather a chunky twig, a good six inches long. Carefully balancing it in his beak, he approached the hole, only to find that the vent was nowhere near six inches wide. He tried a few times, jarring his beak each time, then, not to be defeated, hopped round the chimney to try at the back vent. It, too, was too narrow. He stood back and eyed the chimney, head – and twig – tilted. Then he set the twig down and nipped up the back vent, clearly going to sort out some of the twigs inside so that the prize twig would fit in.
At that point Mrs. Jackdaw returned, and slipped up the front vent only to come back down again sharpish, having presumably met her husband halfway up. They both emerged and went to inspect the problem twig. Then they went back inside, and there was a long pause. You could imagine the shuffling and rearranging going on inside. Then she appeared again and stalked to the far end of the chimney stack, staring out across the carpark, quite clearly counting to ten, and contemplating the sins of unsupervised spouses. Her husband peeped out but wisely retreated.
Mrs. J put her head on one side and thought. Then she returned to the prize twig, grasped it firmly by one end, paced round to the front vent and rammed the twig up the vent. Mr. J crept out of the back vent and hurried round to peer admiringly up the front entrance. There was just a hint of smug satisfaction in the angle of Mrs. J’s head as she went to follow the twig up the vent – but again she fell back. Mr. J tried, but he, too, slid back down. Both of them went round to the back vent, and in, then out again and back to the front vent, poking inside it with their beaks, before eventually shrugging and flapping off in despair. It was evident that Mrs. J’s canny manoeuvre with the twig had in fact blocked their front door, and neither of them could shift it!