I’ve recently finished reading Crow Country by Mark Cocker and wanted to take a moment to recommend it here.
It’s chiefly about rooks, although jackdaws also feature quite a bit since they often accompany rooks at the huge roosts that Cocker first sees near his home in Norfolk and then delights in visiting elsewhere. He even travels to Turkey to pursue his increasingly obsessive ‘Rooking’ project.
The book is an informative and enjoyable read. Cocker writes about nature, but also about our responses to nature. We find out about other birding monomaniacs, about men who carried out an extensive study of rooks whilst captive in German POW camps, and about a Victorian naturalist whose doctor prescribed rook watching as a treatment for depression.
I think that a good test of a book of this kind is whether or not it makes you want to get out there and look for things for yourself. I’m already much more aware of the corvids I see, and was very pleased on Friday evening to spot a small rookery (not near home – I was ferrying Amy to and from her swimming lesson – so I still need to find out where the local rooks nest).