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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!

17 February, 2016

Rook: all mouth and trousers

If you want to know the difference between a rook (Corvus frugilegus) and a crow then look at the beak! The rook has a distinctive 'bony' look to its beak where as the carrion crow has a totally black, smooth beak. Another noticeable difference between the two is that the rook is much more untidy in appearance and has baggy short trousers! The crow is a much more sleek creature all round.
Rooks are very gregarious and are rarely seen in small numbers. They are often found in large flocks feeding on the ground in fields and numbers are frequently boosted by the presence of their cousins, jackdaws. It is difficult to know whether the jackdaws tag along with the rooks or whether the rooks like the company of jackdaws. Whichever way, mixed flocks of well over five hundred are quite common and when they take to the sky the noise can be deafening!
By February rooks are already thinking about nesting and can be seen circling around their favoured nesting site, or rookery. Again, being social birds, they nest in colonies and I can't imaging what it is like to live near a rookery! Is there any peace with their seemingly constant raucous calls? 
Rook: all mouth and trousers