These chaps are our highly effective alarm clock.
Every morning, between 6 and 7, what sounds like a massive crowd of them comes swooping down low above our house, shouting out their distinctive and ear-splitting haa-haa-haa-de-dah call. Some land on our neighbour’s roof, some on ours, and the rest flap over to the huge tree in our other neighbour’s yard.
Then, like a bunch of mean-spirited sergeant-majors calling the tired troops out of their cosy, snuggly, warm and dry beds, they proceed to yell insults, threats and accusations at each other, at the barking and yelping dogs that give them hell back, and at those exhausted humans burying their heads under the pillows, wishing they’d gone to bed before midnight in order to get in enough sleep to face the day.
Incredibly noisy blighters with long, razor-sharp beaks that they use to alarmingly good effect to harvest my precious earthworm population in our garden. I keep hoping that they’ll shift their diet across to the burgeoning snail population that has decimated my lettuce crop. Or how about one of those nefarious juicy caterpillars that chew their way through all my herbs just before I get time to pick them?
But, alas, hadedas do seem to prefer earthworms.
If only they didn’t have to shout it all from the rooftops at dawn every day!