A Jackdaw Story




PRESS SYNDICATION TO:
Associated Press Newsdesk
Reuters News Inc
Avian Monthly
Raven Times



[head]
MYSTERY OF THE MISSING RINGS

[bodytext]
Residents in Northern California have been losing small items of jewellery recently, and under suspicious circumstances. The goods usually disappear from outdoor locations: beside swimming pools, garden tables, and also from windowsills, and cars with open sunroofs. The victims of these thefts have been perplexed, because no other items of value are taken at the same time; wallets and billrolls are ignored. Often the thefts occur from private properties in remote locations. A recent victim, Mrs B. Will Dierde, is quoted as saying, 'I just took my rings off and left them on the hammock in the garden. I swam one length of the pool, and came back to answer my mobile phone. Then I realised a ring was missing! And I was naked too! Who could do such a thing? All I heard while I was swimming was a shout like "Cor! Cor!" but when I looked round, there was nobody there! I was naked, and that upset me more than losing the ring!'

The mystery has now been solved. The ring was handed in the next day to a Police Office several miles away. It was 'found' by Riana Pfefferkorn, who is studying English Literature and Physics at Castilleja. She has been training various birds of the Corvidae (the Crow family) to come to her call. They frequently land on her shoulders, to the great consternation of her teachers and fellow students. One of these birds often brings her gifts of chewing-gum wrappers – or the occasional gold ring – in exchange for little bits of bacon rind. She is shown pictured here with Luup-luup, one of her tame Jackdaws. These creatures are naturally attracted to any bright and shiny objects that they find while foraging. They can fly for long distances, and it is believed that they adorn their nests with the items taken.

Any persons who have recently lost a gold ring or other small item of jewellery are requested to contact the State Police with a full description of the missing items. Riana is co-operating fully in returning valuables to their owners. Unclaimed items become hers after a while though, and she is then entitled to keep or sell them.

Riana is currently training a Raven, which can carry a significantly higher payload than the other Corvids; an ex-banker from England is quoth as claiming to see 'a large black crow-like creature' taking bars of gold bullion from a secure compound where the bank's special security vehicles were being loaded. The bird escaped with an undisclosed sum, and the bank concerned was reluctant to admit the loss. They have now installed strong wire netting over the whole compound, and local staff are discouraged from discussing the incident. The bank's Head Office declines to comment, and refuses to give any explanation as to why the Company Rules now explicitly forbid the leaving of bacon rinds around Bank Premises.


[attribution]
Pauline Pepys

[wordcount=450 words bodytext]
[photo available by negotiation]





(c) P. Peppiatt 1997 Standard copy rates accepted for single non-exclusive use. Other use by negotiation.




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