Garden Rook Survey

The Garden Rook Survey ran between July and December 2014 looking find out more about the behaviour of Rooks in gardens. It covered six categories of behaviour: Feeding, Caching, Tolerance, Object Play, Social and Vocalization.

Rook behaviour. Photos by Margaret Holland, Peter Ford and Sandy Dalkin.

These are some of the behaviours that we documented. Top left: Caching
(Margaret Holland), Bottom left: Feeding (Sandy Dalkin), Top right: Object manipulation
(Peter Ford), Bottom left: Social interaction (Margaret Holland)

Simple behavioural research in labs has shown that Rooks are highly intelligent birds, able to use tools and solve complex problems. With help from Dr. Nathan Emery, an expert in corvid behaviour, we wanted to look into how they use these skills in the wild, especially given their increased use of supplementary food. 

We asked people to record the type of behaviour they observed in their garden, what age the birds were and if they saw any innovative behaviour. We had a fantastic response. Unsurprisingly the majority of people recorded feeding in their gardens, but there was some interesting social and tolerance behaviour seen as well. You can find out more about what learned in our Bird Table article.

Rook Identification

To help you tell apart a Rook from a Crow take a look at our Rook identification page.