Rookery Survey

In 2013, Roger Hicks began a project to map Bedfordshire’s rookeries and continued the project in 2014 and 2015. Last year, with the help of BedsBirders and Bedfordshire Bird Club members, the location of 180 active rookeries were mapped with a total of 4466 nests counted. This was an increase in number of rookeries but a slight decrease in number of nests.

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)