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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

27 January, 2016

Carrion Crow: top of the class

Rook or crow? Now there is a question that even quite experienced bird watchers can ask from time to time. Seen clearly it is no contest with the carrion crow (Corvus corone) a much sleeker looking bird than the rook and without the distinctive beak that the rook has.
There is an old saying and quite a true one; "One or two its a crow, many more they are rooks". Carrion crows can get together in groups but prefer to operate in pairs whereas you nearly always see large flocks of rooks. Indeed, in terms of life style the two similar looking birds are very different. The carrion crow is, as its name suggests a scavenger; picking at dead carcasses, clearing up people's picnics, harrying other birds who have food to make them drop it, and yes, they do take young birds from nests. Rooks, however, feed on invertebrates they find in soil.
Along the water front, at Baiter, in Poole they are much more successful than the gulls in finding a shell fish, flying up in to the air and dropping it on to the tarmac of the car park to break the shell. The gulls just have not twigged that you break more shells on tarmac than on grass, mud and stones! Clever chaps crows!
Carrion Crow: top of the class