Wednesday, 17 November 2010


As you will know if you read my blog regularly, I love rooks. We live near to a huge rookery in Forty acre wood and they fly past our farm morning and evening. In the Summer they start out for their feeding grounds at dawn and come back home at around ten o'clock at night, so I only see them occasionally. In the depths of Winter I am up and about long before they venture forth.

But at this time of the year I see them twice daily and they give me great joy. If there is a gale from the East then they tumble past my bedroom window in a great heap, which takes twenty minutes or so to pass, as there are so many thousands of them. If the wind is from the West then they tack back and forth, struggling to make progress, hedge-hopping and often sailing away in the wrong direction - by golly they must have strong wings to ever get anywhere. If it is a still day they often pass so high up in the air that I can barely see them.

But around three o'clock in the afternoon they begin their journey back to their roost, stopping off in our fields for a search for grubs on the way. They suddenly arrive in one great cawing mass - they settle in the fields, they fly from ash tree to ash tree, they land in the Scots pines, pinch a pine cone and carry it off to drop in the field (now why do they do that?).

Today is bitterly cold and very dark and dull. Dead on time they arrived so I got my camera and went out to take a photograph of them for my blog. I leant on the gate - there was not a rook to be seen; I came in and stood in the window - the sky was full of rooks; I went out again and there was not one to be seen.

But I did take a photograph of the ash tree opposite my kitchen window - and there are a few rooks sitting in it laughing at my predicament - and one flying off just to be kind to me.

So - here is my poem about rooks again. I put it on my blog every year about this time. I make no apologies for doing so - please indulge me in my love of this cheeky black bird.


It seems to me the wind
is your friend.
Soaring, tumbling,
playing with the thermals
on a still day.

Tacking, swooping,
cutting along the hedge top,
manipulating the gale.

Chattering, flying high,
sailing home on a
light breeze.

Building your stick nest
high in the bare branches
for it to rock and rattle
round the rookery.

You joyful bird
with your black, lustrous plumage
and your crusty beak
that stabs the ground
for leatherjackets.

You can
fill the sky with movement,
write a tune on the wires,
blacken a field with your parliament
and fill my heart with joy as you
surge past my window
in your thousands
at dawn
on a cold Winter morning.


Tess Kincaid said...

Delightful poem! I can't say that we have rooks in these parts. But we did play the card game "Rook" when I was a girl.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

And jackdaws? Maybe I have already written here about them, I am not sure...we have them in Venice, they have been here for ten years, I don't remember them before...( actually the other day I saw two, two!! one after the other, buzzards crossing over the lagoon by the railway bridge, not far from various herring gulls, while I was on the train towards Venice station)
Jackdaws could in the distance be confused with pigeons or blackbirds but then you hear their "tchack, tchack" like a smack kiss and you recognize them.
Rooks are not far, everywhere in our countryside, I am never sure if the bigger ones ( our Cornacchie) can correspond to the Ravens.

Titus said...

Just lovely, Weaver. It's the noise and the acrobatics I love too.

Bovey Belle said...

What a lovely poem. There are rooks down in the village, where they have a small rookery (though nothing like as big as the Heronry at Whitemill). We had some starting to nest in the trees on our boundary, but the chaps on the shoot next door came along and shot the bottoms out of their nests to discourage them as they said they would take the young gamebirds (being Corvids). I disagreed, but they were the next door farmer's trees . . .

Junosmom said...

Thank you for letting me see your part of this world.

Heather said...

How well you have conveyed your love of these intelligent birds in your poem Pat. My youngest daughter also loves rooks and I love to see them in the spring, sitting above their nests where all the Mrs.Rooks are keeping the eggs warm.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I agree, no apology needed whatsoever. I have only discovered you blog this year so I haven't read your delightful poem. What a wonder it must be to see them all take flight.

Gerry Snape said...

Weaver...I love the lines.. rock and rattle round the rookery.Wonderful.My father an Armagh farmer's son used to call them "craws" whether they were rooks or crows and I still love to see them and hear them.

MorningAJ said...

I love to hear them up in the trees. You are so lucky to have them on your doorstep.

Anonymous said...

I too love rooks - and do you know the marvellous book about them called 'Crow Country'? I think it's by Mark Cocker but you can check on Amazon which is where I bought my copy.

steven said...

weaver the photo is entirely captivating - i mean really good - and the poem . . . well yes i've read it before but like good meals, they can easily be eaten year after year and celebrated for their excellence over and over. i love crows - perhaps rooks are a close relative. i talk to them in passing because when i bicycle they are always there. cawing from trees, flying alongside, they just seem to welcome me and say "see ya later". cool post. steven

Cloudia said...

What a gem. I was beside you for a few moments!

Aloha from Waikiki :)

Comfort Spiral



Gwil W said...

I love the crow family. They are so intelligent. The other day I saw 5 black crows break away from the main group of about 50 birds and attack some kind of falcon that had strayed into their territory. There was a large rook about the place but it completely ignored all the fracas and sailed gloriously by.
My 3 'resident' hooded crows (mum, dad and 4-5mths youngster) are doing well. They were 4 but the other youngster I think perished in a gale about 6 wks ago.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for all those interesting stories about crows and rooks - it seems I am not alone in my love of them.

izzy said...

We have mostly crows- although I remember rooks from my young visits
(to UK for family -my great Aunt's)
Here starlings are the great 'group'
noise makers;and we had one who was raised an orphan by my Mom... Such a bright character. Thanks !

Dave King said...

A gorgeous post, which I thoroughly enjoyed, not least the poem.

Manipulating the gale struck me as inspired.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I love the poem! The rooks would be pleased. My first encounter with rooks was at a 14th century inn on the coast of Cornwall. It was supposedly haunted and the many nests of cawing rooks outside every window certainly added credence to that! I've loved them ever since.

Delaine said...

Where we live the fall brings the tiny nut hatch to the feeders they are so timid and they swoop in landing lightly and catching one seed and off they go, the tiny vixions never linger or take more than one seed they fly to a nearby tree and latch onto the trunk and and eat their booty either upside down or rightside up it is always a mystery how they manage to eat upside down but it seems to be their favorate way...........they are little masked bandets so fast and fun to watch.......they will be here all winter to entertain us country folks