I couldn’t have wished for a better childhood. My Mum and Dad were and still are my inspiration when it comes to animals and wildlife. The majority of our holidays were spent camping and watching wildlife, and at home the house was always full of animals including fish, stick insects, birds, budgies, rabbits and dogs, to name but a few!
My Dad had aviaries of birds and built me my own aviary as a child where I kept finches and quails. We were very much an animal loving family. Birds were definitely a favourite.
When I was 7 years old a friend of my Dad’s visited the house carrying a small chick that he had found abandoned on the ground during a walk in the woods. My Mum and Dad had bred birds and raised many chicks so who better to raise a small orphan bird.
He was a scrawny little thing, slightly green in colour. He was like a little green gremlin. Back then we had no internet to be able to research what type of bird he could be so we just had to wait and see. My sister was 12 months old at the time but I’m not sure who was more challenging. My Mum and Dad had to feed this chick every couple of hours including through the night! Oh yes, he gave them plenty of sleepless nights!
But this scrawny chick soon grew into a handsome young jay and became a big part of our family. We named him ‘Jakey’ and my Dad built him his very own aviary in the garden. He was an extremely intelligent bird. He was able to mimic the sounds of the lawnmower, a car engine, a hammer, a drill, you name it!
We had many pets, but everytime I see a jay in the wild it always brings back good memories for me.
I finally got my first photograph of a jay at Cannock Chase the other day.