Anybody who has read my blog for a long time will know that the rook is my favourite bird. I am not sure why this is except there are two images from childhood which perhaps make me lean in this direction.
The first one is one I have only been told about. Opposite our house was a large rookery and every year when the young rooks were about to leave the nest they would have a large rook shoot to cull the birds. Apparently, when I was just a toddler, I was found sitting in the middle of the back lawn, cradling a dead rook and sucking its beak. I rather prefer not to think of this image very often.
The second is of course that rookery opposite the house. The sound of the rooks would wake me every morning and I would often go to sleep to the sound of them returning.
Now I am back living in the country again we live within a mile of a very large rookery. The farmer estimates at least fifty thousand birds in it. During the Summer we see them scattered about the fields and trees or gathering in our little town, particularly on market day, when there are juicy pickings to be had.
But this time of the year (I have written about this before) just for a short time, until the days get even shorter, the journey of the rooks from their roost to their feeding grounds further up the Dale coincides with me sitting up in bed drinking my morning cup of tea.
Yesterday morning the sky was a deep and vivid red at dawn and for half an hour the rooks streamed past. The sight was incredible.
In honour of that I am putting on again the poem I wrote about the rooks a few years ago. Sorry if you are one of those who read it last time, but I make no apologies for printing it again - I just wish you could have seen the wonderful sight.
It seems to me the wind
is your friend.
playing with the thermals
on a still day.
cutting along the hedge tops
manipulating a gale.
Chattering, flying high,
sailing home on a
Building your stick nest
high on 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 at the ground
for leather jackets.
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's morning.