News - October 11, 2012


The feature film Kauwboy [Jackdaw Boy) will be the Dutch entry for the Oscar for the best foreign film next spring.

 The film portrays the love between a boy and his jackdaw. Years ago Achilles Cools published a book - Kauwen in de Spiegel - in which he analyses the language of jackdaws. They use as many as 40 distinguishable basic sounds. Both the new film and the book transport me straight back to my own youth when as a primary schoolchild I raised my own jackdaw. His name was Jack. He had fallen out of the nest and the villager who found him brought him to our house. My parents ran a pub and their youngest son was known to have a thing about nature, so where else would you take the creature?
Jackdaws are fantastic creatures. You learn that from the film and from the book, and it is my own experience as well. Jack liked to sit on my arm or shoulder but he did not let anyone else near him. And he used his dangerous beak to make clear that he meant it. He recognized my footsteps before he saw me, and 'my' ring of the doorbell when I came home through the café door, and he would start to caw loudly. If I cried, Jack cried with me. In the spring I kept him in his cage because the urge to fly away was too great then. But one day the bird had flown. He had escaped during feeding time, said my brother. Jack was sitting up a tree a couple of streets away... and came flying down at my call. Seldom have I felt so happy. The very same day my father clipped his wings.