Lots of activity

Rooks have been very busy collecting sticks over the last two fine days with plenty of birds to and fro with sticks. Stick collecting and building has also been reported from Berstane, Heddle Rd and Stromness. I saw a single bird with a stick in Kirkwall today as well. I haven’t checked the colony opposite the Harray Hall but saw Rooks there at the weekend so I expect they will now be building.

Data on first stick collection and nest numbers is on the 2014 page.

March Rooks

Stick collecting began on 28th Feb when Ellen saw Rooks with sticks and I saw several early morning on 2nd March but recent poor weather seems to have put paid to that. There are just 14 bundles in the trees, however, with fine weather forecast for this week I expect that will change. The high winds and poor weather of the last few days have caused some casualties with three adults dead under the trees today, possibly battered against branches in last week’s gales.

Rook deadRooks have generally been roosting except in the poor weather.  In the pre-roost tonight I counted 67 |Jackdaws, one or two of which were candidates for monedula, there were likely in excess of 120 Jackdaws all told.

Shunan sunsetWaiting for the rooks to come in, somehow I missed them as the pre-roost broke up but much later they were in the trees.

Nesting update

Last Saturday the number of nests, or twiggy bundles up the tree, as AON (Apparently Occupied Nest) might be an exaggeration, was 83 (that was on 20th) on 14th there had been 80.

Last weekend judging by the behaviour  of the pair I can easily observe from the kitchen, eggs had hatched.  Yesterday evening when I went out in the dark I could hear young in another nest, so there are certainly now young hatched.

Elsewhere on this site I received a message about rooks being shot, I think in the county.  Here’s the post I put on Orkbird in relation to that:

I have been informed that someone is shooting Rooks using an air weapon, not sure where in the county this is happening, I do have a name, however. I’m guessing its near a rookery.

I would have thought that this is a case for SPCA if nothing else as the birds are likely to be maimed and injured by an air weapon and not killed outright.

What is the law in respect of shooting corvids or destoying their nests? My understanding is that it is illegal to shoot nests with eggs and young, is that correct and are there any other restrictions?

Farmers claim that rooks damage seedlings in the spring. However, I’m not entirely convinced of this, although they are opportunist omnivores. I don’t see the ones from this rookery having any impact on the barley crops in the fields that surround their home. I do know that rooks feed largely on grassland invertebrates and in that respect are beneficial to some crops. In the autumn rooks do eat barley, and are not averse to knocking the crop down to get at the grain. However, they are cautious and wary beasts and a bird scarer or even oft moved objects will put them off.

I realise some folk don’t like rooks, noisy and crap everywhere. However, anyone who takes a few minutes to watch their behaviour will rapidly become fascinated by their intelligence and general quirkyness. Just look at Morris’s photo of the rook he’s kindly let me post on my Parliament of Rooks site (https://aparliamentofrooks.wordpress.com/), a grand bird indeed.

13-04-21 rook

13-04-21 rook

Stick collecting

The Rosa rugosa is a popular nest building material. Rooks are prepared to go to some trouble to get the right piece, even breaking bits off.Image

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One individual bird, I’m pretty sure its the same one, continues to feed under the feeders outside the kitchen window come sun or snow…

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On Saturday there were 74 nests or start of nests, AONs would be a bit of an exaggeration.

Lots of activity

In the fine weather of the last few days there has been a huge amount of activity with much tooing and froing. AONs are now up to 52 (Saturday). The bird seen sitting a week ago is still doing so. Birds are continuing to collect large sticks but moss and grass are often recorded. A bird tearing up dead grass in the front garden seemed to have a guard posted on the nearby fence posts whilst it was on the ground and vulnerable. One bird regularly feeding under the feeders and several risking coming into the back garden Rosa to break of sticks, it must be a useful mixture of flexibility and strength as they go to some trouble to break pieces off.

Going round to count the nests I put birds onto the wires.

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Jackdaws continue to come into the roost but unfortunately I haven’t been able to locate the feeding flock again to check for monedula.