6 Apr
2013
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A churchyard rookery

It is Easter Saturday and we are outside Crediton Parish Church (otherwise snappily known as the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and the Mother of Him who Hung Thereon), but we are not here for religious purposes; we are just here to watch the Rooks.

Izzy, dressed in an Easter Bunny costume, is carrying a feather she has found on the newly mown grass and wandering happily amongst the grave stones, peering at lichens and Daisies. We wander below the trees, kicking through a mess of twigs, which have obviously dropped to the ground whilst the rooks were building their nests. Then, we perch on a stump to count 17 nests and watch the big black birds fly overhead to the rookery. The rooks go about their business, bowing and cawing, courting and squabbling, unworried that they are being observed. There is a bit of a commotion when a Herring Gull hassles one of the rooks at its nest, then flies away to perch on the highest point of the church tower, which is glowing a warm red in the sunlight.

Some people think of Rooks as pests and find their throaty voices annoying, but I have always loved the gossipy sounds of a rookery. I love how they can be found in the unlikeliest places, too – livening up motorway service stations, city roundabouts and lonely copses, even, as here, the occasional graveyard.

Practicalities

We parked on the road next to the church. Rooks start to nest at the end of February/March, before the leaves come on the trees, so this is the best time to observe a rookery.

Other places to see rookeries

Please note that it was very difficult to find records of rookeries, so this list may not prove to be very accurate! If you can confirm any of the rookery locations, please leave a comment.

 

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