Thursday, April 18, 2024

Hero of the Hour 2022 – ‘Derek’ The Doncaster Jackdaw

As residents of a village near Doncaster call a jackdaw named ‘Derek’ “horrible” and a “menace,” Facebook’s ‘Angry People in Local Newspapers’ group unsurprisingly tear these nasty NIMBYs apart

There are 1.4 million breeding pair of western jackdaws (corvus mondeula) in the United Kingdom according to the RSPB’s A-Z of Birds and they are quite rightly protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.


Known for the “metallic chack of its call,” this small, black crow with “noticeable” pale eyes and a “distinctive silvery sheen” is lauded as “intelligent” and “subtly handsome.” They are loved by many, but the majority of the residents of Rossington, near Doncaster have come out to share their hatred of one particular example who frequents their locality.


The bird in question – which has, for some unknown reason, been named ‘Derek’ – was featured on the Facebook group ‘Angry People in Local Newspapers’ [APILN] today after the Doncaster Free Press’s Darren Burke reported that locals have decided “the thing is a menace” earlier this morning.


Reporting on how the jackdaw in question has “been bringing fear to Rossington for a number of years,” the clearly wild bird – which most are ridiculously claiming to be a “domesticated pet” – stands accused of “divebombing” children and attacking workers. It has been termed “horrible” and one resident went as far as to rage: “I will shoot the thing and I don’t give a sh*t who owns it.”


Rather like with a pugnacious pensioner named John Aeberhard of Steeple Ashton, Wiltshire – who wanted to electrocute otters and catch herons in wires and whom was featured in The Steeple Times after being highlighted on APILN in March 2020 – the hateful people of this South Yorkshire former mining village clearly have no appreciation of the “gregarious” nature of a bird that Shootinguk observes: “Can be taught to imitate the human voice. Like all crows, they are the most intelligent of birds.”


Derek is clearly too bright for the ‘Doleites’ (the regional nickname for locals) of Doncaster; one can only hope he flies off to pastures new before he meets a sticky end at the hands of the nasty NIMBYs of Rossington.


Residents of Rossington on ‘Derek’:

Known originally as ‘daws’ (a name meaning “knavish or stupid person”), the Old English ‘jack’ (referencing “something small”) was added in the 16th century. A collective name for a group of them is a “clattering” – as Shootinguk claims it “perfectly evokes the noise made by a large group travelling between roosts and feeding grounds.”


Of this now infamous example of a bird that has wingspan average of 70cm and which normally lives for 5 to 6 years, residents of Rossington told Darren Burke:


Against (the majority):

  • “Horrible.”
  • “A menace.”
  • “That bloody bird.”
  • “Cannot stand the bird.”
  • “The thing is a menace.”
  • “It comes to something when kids can’t even go into their own garden without being petrified because of that bloody bird divebombing them trying to attack them.”
  • “To whomever owns the horrible thing, if you want to try domesticate a bird like that then keep it at home because if it hurts my kids there will be hell to pay and I don’t care who that offends.”
  • “The thing is a menace, attacking kids in school playground, on the street, in their own garden. If it was any other animal it would have been put to sleep following the first attack on a child.”
  • “Angry isn’t the word. I don’t care who thinks I’m overreacting or it’s just a bird but it could take someone’s eye out.”
  • “They got made to come in and have indoor break at school last week coz [he] was attacking kids on playground.”
  • “Me and my colleague was working outside at a customer’s house and got ambushed by [him]. He’s an absolute terror.”
  • “I hope it doesn’t attack one of my grandkids. I will shoot the thing and I don’t give a sh*t who owns it.”
  • “A horrible, nasty little thing.”
  • “A feathered fiend.”
  • “Demonic.”


In favour (the minority):

  • “Good old Derek.”
  • “It’s a wild bird, no one owns it.”
  • “My kids were feeding him earlier, he’s ace.”
  • “Does it wear a balaclava and ride a quad? It’s a bird!”
  • “Derek’s mint! Just carry a bag of crisps and he will love you forever lol [sic] he just wants to be your friend!”
  • “My daughter has told me a few times that Derek has caused all the kids to go inside at play time at school she said most of the kids love him.”
  • “Poor Derek I know the bird please leave it alone it means no harm.”
  • “The village mascot.”


In March 2021, Darren Burke tweeted a plea for stories. Plainly lacking in breaking news content this week, he wrote of ‘Derek’ the Doncaster jackdaw’s antics rather than Shell’s massive profits or Elon Musk taking over Twitter, but most curiously did not cite the names of a single one of his sources.
Darren Burke, Doncaster Free Press 1
Of his something he’d written yesterday about the Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher declaring he’d be backing Rishi Sunak, Mr Burke observed this morning: “Looks like a few of my words today have ruffled a few feathers. Good. It’s what we’re here to do.” Clearly, the local journalist was anticipating his plans for his next story on “the thing is a menace” bird, Derek.
Darren Burke, Doncaster Free Press 2
Mr Burke clearly moved on from his “horrible bird” story, published on the morning of Thursday 27th October 2022, as by the early afternoon he was tweeting about “threats” he’d received from those that had read his works on Twitter. Of these, he remarked: “One of the favourite ‘threats’ I have as a journalist is when an angry individual tells you they have screenshots of the conversation you’ve had with them. What you gonna do, send ‘em to King Charles? Joe Biden? Putin?”
A stunningly filmed ‘must watch’ YouTube video by North Yorkshire based Robert E. Fuller – viewed over 5.2 million times already since being uploaded in May 2021 – features a kestrel defending its nest against a jackdaw. The tenacity of both is simply amazing; clearly the people of Rossington, Doncaster ought to appreciate their enthusiastic resident a little bit more.

Members of the Facebook group ‘Angry People In Local Newspapers’ react to the ‘Doncaster Free Press’ story:

APILN Facebook post
Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.


  1. What a terrific read..I think I love that bird…what’s wrong with dive in bombing children…esp. if they love him ..ahhh it’s good.

  2. Whoa! The revenge of the **Crow**. Now do guinea pigs. Lol..I love guinea pigs. I had my 2 guinea pigs cremated & their ashes are in a little urn that,looks like a tiny genie bottle. Yoda, the male’s ashes are in a blue & silver urn & Autumn the female in a purple & gold urn. This is why I love this website,the purveyor pulls no punches.


  3. Ghastly. Yup.yup. 🤗 Hope it’s alright to bring this up. If you get any updates on yankee Wally,would appreciate to know how she is. She’s the reason I was drawn to your website. She hasn’t posted on social media lately. Thank you SO much for trying to help her! 😇😇



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