Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rooking for Crows

I've just finished reading Crow Country by Mark Cocker and would recommend it to anyone who appreciates traditional natural history writing. After a couple of chapters I wanted to go out and look at Rooks afresh. This wasn't possible, living in north London, but it reminded me of Rooks, rookeries and their roosts while growing up in Scotland and how they would occasionally pass over the garden in their hundreds after dark. Mark Cocker writes of a personal journey into the world of the Rook, from his discovery of the spectacular dusk movements of 40000 birds in the Norfolk’s Yare valley, to exploratory trips throughout the British Isles as his fascination deepened. He deftly blends observation, theory, science and intuition, which draws the reader into a new understanding of this relatively ignored species. His writing is at times, quite poetic without becoming sentimental. This book also reveals as much about the landscapes and people who have shared them with the Rook as the British countryside has changed over the centuries. I think most people who read this book will begin to look at our common birds in a new way.

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