Rook origin and appearance
Hailing from Eurasia, the Rook is a member of the crow family. The species has a striking resemblance to the Carrion Crow. The average length of the Rook is 45 to 47 centimeters. The jet-black feathers bear a blue or bluish-purple sheen in bright sunlight. They have dense and silky feathers on the head, neck, and shoulders. The legs and the feet are black in color and the beak is grayish-black. A bare, grayish-white skin around an adult Rook’s beak, distinguishes it from other members of the crow family. Collectively Rooks are known as parliament, clamor, and the like.
The Rook happens to dwell in Europe, mainly Great Britain, and Ireland. Nomadic to Scandinavia and Ireland, rooks also occur in parts of Asia well, where it slightly differs in appearance. It has been introduced in New Zealand as well, where it is being eradicated as an agricultural pest.
Rooks feed on earthworms and insect larvae. They also consume cereals, small fruits, acorns, birds’ eggs, and other things. In urban areas, they are often spotted feeding on garbage. Along the seashore, they have been seen feeding on crustaceans and other seafood.
Rookeries, as the bird’s nest is commonly known, are the most conspicuous of colonial sites. Trees like Scot pine, elm, oak, and sycamore are used by the bird to make nests. They gather branches by breaking off twigs from trees or stealing them from nearby nests of other birds. Eggs are usually 3-5 in number. Both the adults feed the young until they are a month old.
Rook vocalization and intelligence
Rook vocalization comprises “kaah – kaah”, which is similar to that of Carrion Crow, but slightly flatter than the latter. Vocalization takes place in both cases, either perched or while in flight. Solitary Rooks are often known to “sing” to themselves. British zoologists have proved that the Rook is an intelligent bird. They are clever enough to make use of simple tools like bending a wire into a hook.
Rooks in folklore
Like many others of the Crow family, the Rook has also been featured in folklore. Traditionally they are known to forecast weather and sense approaching death. An abandoned rookery is said to bring misfortune. An empty Rook’s nest is portrayed in Charles Dickens’s novel David Copperfield. The protagonist, young David grows up in the fictitious Blunderstone Rookery where he witnesses the tragic death of his mother. Folklore also has it that Rooks escort the souls of the virtuous dead to heaven.
See more: Bird First Aid