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To roost

September 20, 2011

In nearby woods, the winter roosts of Rook and Jackdaw have started to build up. On Sunday we watched the aerial display of 500 or so of both species as they wheeled, called and wheeled again above wood. Their display is a mixture of indecision and bravado; you could even say there was just plain enjoyment in their formation flying.

The Jackdaws are the most nimble – they are the sportiest fliers of the crow family (although the Chough, a cliff dwelling crow from the western cliffs runs them very close in this). Without a discernible signal between them, they rise and fall as one calling onstantly as they go. After ten minutes or more of a roller-coastering flight, a roosting site is chosen and the flock pours like liquid into the wood. The Rooks are slower in flight, but till the collective display is practiced until the declining light forces them to land.

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