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.