I'm currently reading "A Cornish Summer" by Derek Tangye, and having just read a passage in the book, was reminded of the times when one of my own donkeys, Jack, used to help line the nests of birds. I often saw crows sitting on Jack's back, which he didn't mind at all. When his thick winter coat started to shed, I would groom him for hours and collect his hair by the bucket load, which I then used to tip upside down and leave in piles around the paddock - instead of sand castles, there were hair castles!
Derek wrote in his book that it was ironic they should help the jackdaws with their nest building. He tells us how the jackdaws considered Penny's hair as an enviable adornment when they went to Minack in search of food. At the same time, the jackdaws showed a desire to take Penny's hair for their furnishings.
When I went to check the donkeys later in the day, the castles were all gone. Even after 10 years, I remember this as if it was yesterday and try to imagine how many fledglings had been kept warm in their nests surrounded by Jack's winter coat.
Penny was one of Derek and Jeannie Tangye's donkeys who they acquired after moving to a remote cottage in Cornwall. From there, Derek wrote the "Minack Chronicles".
Shortly after Penny arrived, little Fred was born and they both became part of Minack along with all the other animals that graced the lives of the Tangyes.