I Learned Why It's Called A Rookery!

Hey, if you're looking for a good reference of collective bird names, check this out.  I don't know about you, but I'm feeling  about as giddy as a a conventicle of magpies. I've had more than one person ask me why heron colonies are called "rookeries" and I've never gotten around to looking up the answer.  Well, I had the chance to find out first hand why they are called that.


We found a few spots in Kazakhstan where several large nests were built in the trees--not unlike heron nests.


Only these were not built by herons, but were built by rooks.  They look like crows with a sort of reverse goatee thing going on.  The area around their bill is featherless and shows pale gray skin.  As we were looking at a rook in the field guide, my buddy Clay read, "Rooks nest in colonies called 'rookeries."

We both looked at each other and said, "Duh!"

I was excited at this realization--ah rooks--nesting together in a rookery--like a heron rookery.  I was surprised that I didn't figure this out sooner.  I have been vaguely aware of rooks, but since they are like crows and crows in my neck of the woods are not colony nesters, I never put two and two together.


Rooks are a common bird in Kazakhstan and in Europe.  One of our fellow participants by the name of Mike Weedon thought it odd that I came all the way to Kazakhstan to get a photo of what would be a common garden bird for him--but one person's common bird is another's lifer.

Here's a video that isn't all that exciting, except that you can hear other rooks calling the background.  I chuckled because I realized that when I was a kid and watched the movie, The Last Unicorn, rook calls were used in the background.