Wildlife news

The Rookery

Rooks are part of the corvid family; other corvids include; raven, crow, jackdaw and jay.

The collection of rook nests such as the one here at Durdle Door Holiday Park is known as a ‘rookery’. Rookeries are formed when these highly sociable birds nest communally in groups. In the winter, communal roosts form, consisting of birds from a number of different rookeries. These roost can become huge, one in northwest Scotland contained around 65,000 rooks!

By February, rooks return to their own rookery in order to start breeding. The nest is constructed of twigs and three to five blue or grey-green eggs are laid towards the end of March. After hatching, the chicks take 40 days to fully grow, and won’t reach full independence until at least five months of age.

Over the centuries, rooks have built up quite a reputation in folklore. They are said to be able to forecast weather and sense the approach of death. Another folk-tale claims they are responsible for escorting the virtuous souls to heaven.Generally rooks are regarded with bad fortune, for example a large group of rooks arriving in an area is said to be unlucky. However, a well-established rookery (like the one here at Durdle Door Holiday Park) are deemed to bring good fortune. Still, if the rooks desert a rookery then a calamity is signalled. It is said that if rooks build their nests high in the trees then we will have a good summer, if the nests are built low then it will be wet and cold.

In captivity, when confronted with problems, they have been documented being capable of using a tool to obtain a goal. They are extremely intelligent, able to solve complex puzzles by using objects and teamwork. Some liken their cognitive ability to be like that of a toddler.

They might wake you at the crack of dawn and leave an unwanted gift on your tent, but learn to love the mischievous corvids; they’ve been here a lot longer than we have!