Rookery Survey 2013 – 2020

In 2013, Roger Hicks began a project to map Bedfordshire’s rookeries which has become annual is continuing in 2020.

Rookeries 2020

An earlier than usual start this year as I will be away for most of the rookery season (our eldest son is getting married in New Zealand). There has been little activity at my local rookeries so far and several seem to have lost all their nests, e.g. Ickwell and Henlow Groveside and no doubt Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis will remove a few more of last year’s nests from other rookeries. However, Rooks are beginning to visit the rookeries and now can be a good time to locate them as birds milling about above the nest sites are often visible from some distance, and of course the nests are easy to spot in leafless trees.If you would like to contribute to the survey, all rookery data will be gratefully received. For each rookery I am collecting: Rookery Name, ordnance survey grid reference, count date, nest count and, if possible, species of tree with number of nests per tree species. The results can be followed on a google map at

https://tinyurl.com/BedsRookeries2020

All known rookeries are shown with yellow or pale pink markers, the latter being rookeries where there were no nests or no activity in 2019. as the survey progresses, the markers of rookeries that are active in 2020 will be changed to green and those where there are no nests or nesting activity will be changed to red. For comparison with past (and future) surveys a rookery is defined as any nest or group of nests more than 100m from the next nearest nest or group of nests.

While looking (unsuccessfully) for the Sandy Waxwing recently I had a wander around and came across a previously unrecorded rookery in the grounds of Sandy secondary school. It set me wondering how many other rookeries are there in suburbia. Last year, Neil McKillop reported a rookery from Manor Road, Kempston which had nests remaining from 2018 (at least) while since the survey started in 2013, new rookeries have been reported from Wardown Park, Luton and Goldington Green, Bedford (although, none from Dunstable as yet). Are Bedfordshire’s Rooks moving out of the country and into villages and towns as they have done elsewhere, e.g. most rookeries in Wiltshire are now located in villages with very few in open countryside. Please let me know if you have a suburban rookery near where you live (it might only be one nest!).

The majority of rookeries recorded so far have been beside or visible from a road. Please let me know, if you come across any that are off the beaten track. I would also like to collect any historical counts that may be lurking in your notebooks.

I still find identifying the nesting trees more difficult than expected, especially when without leaves and once in leaf it was difficult to count the nests! Ash is the most commonly used nest tree but a large proportion of nest trees still remained unidentified.

cheers

Roger

Rookeries 2018

I will be running the project again in 2018 and have created the base map http://tinyurl.com/BedfordshireRookeries2018 from the 2017 data showing all known rookeries with yellow markers. In 2017, with the help of BedsBirders and Bedfordshire Bird Club members, the location of 174 active rookeries were mapped with a total of 4470 nests counted. This was a decrease in number of rookeries (2016 = 180) but a slight increase in number of nests from 2016. Rookeries visited in 2018 will be marked green; rookeries no longer used will be marked red. Rookeries are located by a 6-figure grid reference which is converted to latitude and longitude for creating the google maps. As a consequence some of the markers may be slightly out of position. Please let me know and I will correct the position of the markers.

If you would like to contribute, all rookery data will be gratefully received. For each rookery I am collecting: Rookery Name, ordnance survey grid reference, count date, nest count and species of tree with number of nests per tree species. Also, if you have any old records hiding in your notebooks, these would be gratefully received and added to the database.

For comparison with past (and future) surveys a rookery is defined as any nest or group of nests more than 100m from the next nearest nest or group of nests.

Most rookery names I have taken from a feature on the OS maps; these may differ from how the rookery is known locally. Please let me know if any of the existing names need changing.

Map from the 2017 survey has been produced and can be viewed at:   http://tinyurl.com/BedsRookeries2017

Spreadsheets of the rookery data collected in these surveys are also available for those interested, please email me and  I will send out a copies as required.
The data can also be viewed via the rookery website which can be viewed at www.rookeries.uk

The website includes all date from earlier surveys displayed on a variety of maps and charts. If you register and log-in to the site, you will be able to enter, amend and delete your own rookery observations. Please have a look and let me know what you think, especially if you come across any bugs or have any ideas for improvements.

 

 

Rookeries 2016

The Bedfordshire Rookeries survey will continue in 2016 and to this end a base map BedsRookeries2016 has been created from the 2015 data showing all known rookeries with yellow markers. Rookeries visited in 2016 will be marked green; rookeries no longer used will be marked red. Rookeries are located by a 6-figure grid reference which is converted to latitude and longitude for creating the google maps. As a consequence some of the markers may be slightly out of position. Please let me know and I will correct the position of the markers.

If you would like to contribute, all rookery data will be gratefully received. For each rookery I am collecting: Rookery Name, ordnance survey grid reference, count date, nest count and species of tree with number of nests per tree species. Also, if you have any old records hiding in your notebooks, these would be gratefully received and added to the database.

For comparison with past (and future) surveys a rookery is defined as any nest or group of nests more than 100m from the next nearest nest or group of nests

Most rookery names have been taken from a feature on the OS maps; these may differ from how the rookery is known locally. Please let me know if any of the existing names need changing.

Rookeries 2015

The Bedfordshire Rookeries survey results are shown in the base map at BedsRookeries2015

Rookeries visited in 2015 are marked green; rookeries no longer used are marked red.

Rookeries 2014

Results from 2014 survey can be found  at BedsRookeries 2014

In 2013, ash was the most commonly used nest tree, accounting for nearly 29% of nests but 37% of nest trees remained unidentified.

Rookeries 2013

The first year of a project to map Bedfordshire rookeries. With the help of BedsBirders and Bedfordshire Bird Club members the location of 135 active rookeries were mapped with a total of 3744 nests counted.

The map can be viewed below or at BedsRookeries 2013. The active rookeries are marked in blue; sites where rookeries had previously been recorded (in recent years) are marked in red; sites with rookeries in previous years but not visited in 2013 are marked in yellow. The south and west of the county were poorly covered in 2013. Comparison with the atlas map for 2007-2011 suggests about 70 rookeries were ‘missed’. A spreadsheet of the 2013 results is available for those interested, please email and I will send out a copy.

Historical Bedfordshire Rookery Surveys

The first national census of rookeries was conducted in 1944-46 as part of the war effort to determine if Rooks adversely affected food production. A second national census was carried out in 1975 after various local reports of declines in Rook numbers. Thanks to the Alexander Library (at Oxford Uni) and the BTO I have been able to extract the Bedfordshire data from both these censuses. I have created Google maps from both data sets and these may be viewed at:

BedsRookeries 1945

BedsRookeries 1975

Roger Hicks: December 2014

(to contact Roger please use: rogerkhicks AT hotmail DOT com)