It was an ordinary summer evening a couple of years back. I suddenly walked outside and went to the back of our stable. To this day, I don’t know what made me get up and go out, or how I knew precisely where to go. Without hesitating, I walked straight to a section of the wall, leaned down, and found a trembling jackdaw that had somehow fallen out of its nest.
I walked back inside and showed the tiny bird to my wife, and said that we needed to try and save it. It was small, had almost no feathers, and was very cold and very scared.
After an hour, we finally managed to feed it a little (using a syringe without a needle), and then it was time for us to sleep. Feeling that it was close to dying and in desperate need of comfort and warmth, I lay the bird on my chest. Somehow we both managed to sleep that way, and in the morning it let me know that it was hungry. After that, the jackdaw screamed for food every couple of hours for several weeks…
We named the bird Cayo, and it became our companion, following us wherever we went. Unlike some birds, jackdaws are not born with all instincts for feeding and flying — they need to learn from their parents. Not being birds, we still tried our best to teach Cayo to find food, avoid dangers, and finally to fly.
With five cats roaming the grounds of our farm, little Cayo lived dangerously. Somehow, he managed to dodge the cats when they chased him, and finally they understood that he was part of the family and stopped trying to eat him.
Somehow Cayo managed to make it through his unusual childhood and become a beautiful jackdaw.
Other birds would call to him to join them, but he preferred to stay with his family. Even when we took our dog for long walks, Cayo would join us. Rather than flying, he would often walk next to us for miles. Sometimes he would take off and fly to investigate something, but then he’d come back, often to land on my shoulder.
Finally, Cayo started to spend more and more time with other jackdaws. He’d come home at night, and I’d bring him inside the house for sleeping. In the morning he would scream and restlessly jump around until I let him out.
And then came the day when our Cayo would finally return to the wild. We saw him join his fellow jackdaws, and he flew by close to us as if to say goodbye.
It was a heartbreaking moment to see the bird that we had saved from certain death become what nature intended and leave us to fulfill his destiny.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because the story is a reminder that we should follow our instincts, help those who need us, and never be afraid to spread our wings and try to fly.
Sometimes you will find a metaphorical jackdaw like Cayo at work, or perhaps in your social circles. How you choose to help them — or not — may ultimately decide whether they learn to fly. I think that’s a good reason to always try to be helpful and see the potential for greatness in people we meet. Who they are today may not be who they’ll be tomorrow.
Bjorn “The Mayor” Karlsson