The Silver Jackdaw of Bratislava is a little known offshoot of the Corvidae family of birds. In the summer, Silver Jackdaws migrate from the area between Bratislava and Vienna to the High Tatra Mountains in Eastern Slovakia and Poland where they build nests well out of the sight of humans. The reason for this is these birds are the only members of the Corvidae family who are not only attracted to shiny objects, but also steal them with a shocking amount of cunning. This is why these birds are called Silver Jackdaws.

Often working in gangs of two or three, these jackdaws are extremely well organised. If someone drops a coin on the ground when walking their dog, one of the Silver Jackdaws will land on the dog’s back causing it to bark. As the owner is distracted, one of the other jackdaws will pick up the coin and take it back to the communal nest, high up in a large tree. If a cafe or restaurant has a cup or tin where customers can put their tips for the staff, silver jackdaws will fly through an open window and steal the coins and notes from the container. The coins and notes, as well as rings, aluminium foil, and even certain types of sunglasses are used to decorate the nests of the birds, each nest having a different type of decorative design.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided