Watch Out

Rooks On Guard
Rooks On Guard

Through the village and past the village green and past the post box, we could hear the racket. A large number of rooks were swirling around above the trees that hosted last years rookery, making more noise, and with a greater decibel output, than a kinder-garden classroom full of excited youngsters waiting for the bus to take them on a school trip. We were going in that direction so we hurried along, to The Dog’s annoyance, to see what was going on. It is in the autumn that the young rooks congregate to dance with the winds and general show off before pairing up for the spring. It certainly isn’t nest building time.

Well, we reached the part of the road that goes through the tunnel created by the trees that support the nests and the sky was full of swirling birds. Even as we watched more groups of birds came diving in to give their support to whatever was happening. It could have been a football match, or a closing down sale. It could have been that a well known fruitier had announced a new handset. We watched in amazement.

Then we noticed that mixed up in the swirling mass, were the buzzards. There didn’t seem to be any attempt to attack them, it really just seemed like deliberate harassment. This went on for nearly ten minutes and then the rooks flew off and settled in trees a few hundred yards away.

Just teenage bravado, I suspect.

Pack Mentality

Buzzard
Buzzard

A word about Buzzards, in particular ‘our’ Buzzards. There are around a half a dozen of them and they hang around The Rookery. In spite of their size, they are wimpy birds and allow themselves to be bullied by the Crows, who are not quite as big. The Rooks often gang up on the Buzzards and will chase them away at every opportunity.

At one time, I wondered if the area that includes The Rookery, was large enough to support six or seven Buzzards but I have realised that there are two mitigating factors.

First must be: For several months of the year it is necessary to drive with great care along the local lanes as they become inundated with Pheasants. I can’t imagine that the Buzzards haven’t noticed this. I should think any number of the silly birds find it quite simple to run into a car – and the Buzzards are good at tidying up road kill.

Second, and more interestingly: The Buzzards hunt as a pack. I have watched as a couple of them, mewing piteously, flap clumsily round the edge of the copse that contains The Rookery. They are immediately set upon by all The Rookery’s occupants so they pull their heads in and flap off – being careful not to outdistance their harassers. Once the decoys are a decent distance away – the raiding party swoops in.

I’m afraid the Rooks never learn.