March 9 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Members of the easily over looked crow family are often marked down as being merely dull black birds but their looks belie their intelligence.
Margaret Holland, wildlife enthusiast and amateur photographer, said: “They happen to be among the cleverest of the avian community and have in their membership rooks, crows, hooded crows and magpies - that handsome black and white bird - as well as jays, ravens and choughs.
“They all tend to nest early, as early as February even when the weather is extremely cold and hostile.”
Mrs Holland, of Ipswich, continued: “I have heard people say that they cannot tell the difference between rooks and crows which suggests that they have not looked closely at either or both.
“The rook tends to favour flocks and are frequently seen working a field of either newly sown cereal crops or grassland searching for leatherjackets and other pests.
“The food they gather is collected in throat pouches especially when they have chicks in the nest.
“Rooks will nest in a close community in what is called a rooker and interestingly a number of rooks that gather in close proximity to each other is known as a parliament of rooks suggesting their heightened intelligence as if discussing some important topic.”
Rooks have an iridescent plumage which when caught by sunshine shows a multiplicity of colours in the sheen.
Crows, on the other hand, are often seen in pairs, preferring that level of contact although at times they will gather in larger number.
“These birds are becoming bolder and bolder entering gardens of all sizes and will predate upon the garden birds nests taking both eggs and fledglings . They are real thieves and are not popular with gamekeepers as it is claimed they take game birds eggs and chicks.
“However they are extremely clever and will solve problems. Have you seen how they will take stale bread and soak it in puddles and garden ponds before eating the softened morsel?” said Mrs Holland.
More of her work may be seen on Margaret the Novice flickr