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Chatterjack

Chak! Chak! Chak!

I chatter and I chuckle

Like a rattle in the trees.

Chak! Chak! Chak!

I battle on the breeze.

A jack I am of many trades.

I probe and peck at locks and clocks.

I pick up shiny string and rings.

I sometimes raid a pheasant’s nest;

That doesn’t mean I am a pest.

I’m not that bad

And certainly

I’m not a cad.

There may be fewer song birds now to name

But I am not the one that you should blame.

The villains are your pesticides and cats,

Which kill for fun and power like autocrats.

But that’s enough of cats. Let’s talk of me.

I do not mean to boast but you can see

That I’m quite handsome in my black and white,

Especially when the sun is shining bright.

My long, long tail then shimmers with the sheen

Of splendid colours - purple, blue and green.

Not only beauty, I have brains to match

For I can learn to speak. I’m quite a catch!

I clear your fields of larvae that do harm,

Your roads of carrion waste that cause alarm.

So don’t believe the stories you have heard.

In fact, I am a model family bird.

Like all my brothers here, we mate for life

When we decide to breed and take a wife.

We don’t divorce and fly from place to place;

We stay secure in one familiar base.

If one of us is injured by a car,

Then we will fly to help, however far,

And lift him to a safer place to stay.

We’re one extended family in this way.

Forget the stories. Look with open eyes

Next time you see us gather in the skies.

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