What an in­ge­nious Rook I watched!

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View - Pa­tri­cia Les­ley Stam­mers

I live in a shel­tered hous­ing com­plex and, to es­cape the com­puter, I went to the com­mon room one re­cent af­ter­noon. There was no one else about, and hav­ing made my­self a cuppa, I sat be­side the pa­tio win­dows. With a view of the gar­den, I was en­ter­tained for 20 min­utes by an in­ge­nious Rook. At first he – a big, glossy, spec­i­men with slaty beak that looked ca­pa­ble of dig­ging up the con­crete – was stalk­ing around in lordly fash­ion un­der our mag­no­lia tree. I be­came in­trigued when, like a fast bowler pre­par­ing to at­tack, he backed off, turned and turned again. He did that sev­eral times, as though psych­ing him­self up for the charge. Sud­denly, he rose on his toes and took off to­ward the dainty bird-feeder that one of our num­ber had filled and hung on the tree. A de­lib­er­ate col­li­sion swung the feeder to and fro, scat­ter­ing nuts on the lawn, where the bird then landed to eat and en­joy his af­ter­noon tea! The game con­tin­ued un­til a minute or two he was joined by an­other of his kind. She, hav­ing no in­cli­na­tion for work, merely ate the food he sup­plied. Their ap­petite for nuts must have waned, though, as they soon flew ami­ably away to­gether. Per­haps I should’ve re­minded them that the lo­cal colony is al­ready over­crowded!

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