My home is my Rook

By Axel Mauruszat (Own work) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons
By Axel Mauruszat (Own work) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve lived here for about 30 years but nature can give you new sights every day, not just every year.

There are plenty of cheerful-sounding Jackdaws that career up and down the road, sticking to the chimneys and rooftops. I like them a lot. Just because they are here every day it doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth a look.

And there are Magpies here too – not many, but some.

And Carrion Crows fly over often.

A Jay is a rarity but it would be this time of year when I see them most often from the house or garden – none so far this autumn.

And there are, of course, Rooks too. They fly over frequently in flocks, and there is a rookery over the road about a mile away. But in recent days there has been a single Rook frequenting my neighbourhood. I might have missed it as I came back from the Post Office one day, via the ivy-rich jitty, if it hadn’t called. Now a Rook sounds very similar to a Crow, but also quite different. And that’s what made me look up and there he or she was, sitting on a TV aerial a few houses down the road from my house. A few days later there was a similar bird, perhaps the same individual, on another TV aerial and I saw it before it called this time.

Yesterday it was back on another rooftop. Just the one Rook. Not really doing very much. but occasionally calling.

And it was there again today. I’m thinking it is the same bird just because there isn’t usually a Rook sitting on my local roofs, but now there is – always on its own (so far). And always calling occasionally.

I wonder what’s going on here.

Aren’t birds brilliant?

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12 Replies to “My home is my Rook”

  1. Don't some rooks get cast out from the community. Has it lost its mate (in that area?)
    Jackdaws sound cheerful -well as long as you don't know what they are shouting about. I think they have complex social structure. A few will start a bit of a clacking match and then pairs come from far and wide to join in and have their shout, so you can have 20 or 30 or more bouncing round a tree.
    They like my neighbours 130ft Lombardy poplars on winter's mornings when the first rays of the sun creep over the horizon and hit tops the 5-10 minutes before it reaches lower dwelling, now then they do make a happy sound.

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  2. I am not a birder, by any means, but I love corvids. All corvids, without exception, but particularly jackdaws and crows (especially hoodies). They are just so smart, and so entertaining; the way they manage to think around obstacles on the bird feeder never ceases to amaze me. And last week on holiday on Mull I saw two hoodies totally nonchalantly land on a rock in the loch, which I just happened to be staring at intently through my binoculars at the time because it was occupied by not one but two sea eagles. Both pairs of birds seemed completely unfazed by the situation, which cannot be said for me. When I think of the jackdaws where I live incessantly mobbing red kites and buzzards I cannot really get why the hoodies would cheerfully sit on a rock no more than 50 cm distant from two massive eagles. Quite apart from anything else it also helped to give a fantastic idea of the size of those things - thanks, hoodies!

    And as a timely but not very connected (other than it's bird-related) aside I've just had a small bird fly into our windows and stun itself (not an unusual occurrence). I went out to rescue it and was, for a while, thoroughly puzzled by what it was (thus proving beyond doubt that I am not a birder). An absolutely stunning, small bird with a fine, slightly curved beak, a white breast and beautiful speckled golden-brown feathers and a kind of spiky tail. Yes, OK, I know you will be there already, it was a treecreeper - seen them before on loads of occasions but only ever - ahem - treecreeping, and usually at a distance (and yes I know that is no excuse). But my question is, what was it doing flying into my window quite some distance from any trees or woodland? I thought they were pretty habitat specific.

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    1. Lisa - thanks for an interesting comment.

      I guess Treecreepers need, sometimes, to fly from wood to wood. One sees them in hedgerows now ande again too. Assuming that the treecreeper recovered - what a treat for you!

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      1. Hi Mark
        Yes, it was a treat, and it did recover. All the birds that fly into the windows seem to, fortunately (unless they go off and die around the corner, but I'd rather not think about that). This year we've had several house sparrows, a dunnock, a long tailed tit (a species that is a personal favourite - I felt absolutely sick that it might die, but it clung onto the leg of my jeans and I felt obliged to stand there until it flew off), a goldfinch, and now the treecreeper. I am lucky enough to have a job where I get up close to bats fairly frequently, but not usually birds. What's your view on the hoodies and the eagles? I know, obviously, that sea eagles eat fish, but I can't imagine the hoodies know that - unless they are even cleverer than we already know.....

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        1. Lisa - as you say, cor ids are bright. I guess they knew what they were doing. Envy you the views of sea eagles. Impressive birds - mighty impressive.

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          1. Thanks Mark. Go to Mull - you can't miss them. As well as golden eagles and otters. Fantastic. I had never been before, but I'll be going back!

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    2. Hello Lisa
      Loved your comments on Mark's blog. Sorry I'm late posting this but playing catch up. I think (and I'd hope most birders would agree) that anyone who shows your level of interest and knowledge in birds, whether it's corvids or eagles, deserves to call themselves a birder. If you read Simon Barnes's excellent book "How to be a Bad Birdwatcher" hopefully that will encourage you. Thankfully these days we're not all grumpy old men with over expensive bins and scopes shushing people in hides or crazy twitchers spending fortunes on travelling hundreds of miles to see the latest lbj (little brown job) bird that's been blown in from the Atlantic!

      As for Mull. My favourite place in the world. No contest (and not just because of the wildlife)

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  3. Hi Mark - behind the times as usual, have you ever read George Kirby Yates The Life of The Rook? Written in the 1930s - he was a photographer and climbed trees nect to rookeries to photograph them on the nest. Also Crows, Jays, Ravens and their Relatives by Sylvia Bruce Wilmore, written in the 70s. A classic imho.

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