Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Rookery census

For the first time in the history of the Welsh Ornithological Society, WOS is running an all-Wales species survey during the springs of 2022 and 2023. The species to be surveyed is the Rook (Corvus frugilegus). The aim is to establish distribution maps of rookeries and a robust breeding population estimate in Wales for this familiar, but declining member of the crow family.


Why Rook? Why now?

Rooks are in trouble and need help. As a result of declines caused by farming changes, pesticides and persecution, they have been moved from Green to Amber in the recently published Birds of Conservation Concern 5 and from Least Concern to Vulnerable on the IUCN European Red List.


Two UK-wide breeding Rook surveys have been held in the past – one in 1975 and another in 1996 – but none since then and an all-Wales survey is long overdue. In Wales, in particular, they appear to be in more trouble than elsewhere. The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) index for Wales fell by 58% during 1995-2018, accelerating after 2010, and the rate of decline is considerably greater here than in any other UK nation. 

Nest-building is well underway this month

For more information about the Rook survey and how you can get involved, please click here. This also provides a link to an online booking app to view and allocate tetrads.

For more information about Rooks in Pembrokeshire, go to the Avifauna where some additional historical information on Rook distribution has been added recently. More information will be added from the county archive soon.

Bob and Annie - local rookery census organisers