Cracknell Hill Rookery

In 2013 I organsied a rookery survey in Bedfordshire, which, with the help of Bedfordshire Bird Club members, has continued annually. Rookeries in Bedfordshire had only previously been surveyed as part of national studies. Data for the earliest survey, in 1944-46, was extracted from the original field sheets at the Alexander Library in Oxford while that for the more recent surveys (1975,1980 and 1996) was supplied by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

This website grew out of the Bedfordshire Rookery Survey as a way to display the otherwise generally inaccessible data in interesting ways and as a means to capture data for future surveys in Bedfordshire and, hopefully, elsewhere.

  • To encourage an interest in Rooks and Rookeries;
  • To encourage the recording of rookery data, e.g. nest counts, nest trees etc;
  • To facilitate mapping the location of rookeries whether as part of an organised survey or on an adhoc basis;
  • To provide enquiry and reporting functions, by county or survey, that presents the entered data in an interesting way;
RKH weemee

Roger Hicks, Henlow, Bedfordshire

I am married to Jenny and we have two grown-up sons.

I was born in Guildford, Surrey and have been bird-watching for as long as I can remember. I studied Science and the Environment at Leicester Polytechnic. From 1977-1985 I was a member of the Poly's summer expedition to Shetland where I participated in moorland and seabird surveys, conducted a breeding Red-throated Diver survey on the Graveland Peninsula and met Jenny.

One of my earliest jobs was as a research assistant at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) which coincided with the introduction of their first computer. I decided to become a computer programmer. Subsequently, I have lived and worked in Sweden, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Australia, as well as the UK, and have visited and birded in a further 18 countries. While in PNG, I was president of the PNG Bird Society and editor of their journal, Muruk. In five years I recorded 555 species, including 20 species of birds of paradise and was co-finder of the first Blue Rock Thrush for the country. During our three years in Australia, we were fortunate to have Margaret Cameron, former president of the RAOU (now Birds Australia) as our mentor and we participated in many of the Birds Australia surveys. We travelled widely but still only saw a small part of that vast country. A highlight was a three-week stint as summer wardens for Orange-bellied Parrots on their breeding grounds at Melaleuca in south-west Tasmania. One morning we recorded 44 of these small and rare parrots together on a bird table, probably over 30% of the breeding population!.

Since returning to the UK, we have lived mainly in Henlow, Bedfordshire. I am a member of the Bedfordshire Bird Club and have served on their general committee for five years and on the science and research committee for the last two years. I am currently the BTO regional representative for Bedfordshire.

BTO Logo

Data for the 1975, 1980 and 1986 national rookery surveys were supplied by the ​ British Trust for Ornithology. For any ​queries regarding ​BTO data, enquiries should be directed to the British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, IP24 2PU (datarequests@bto.org)

Data from the 1944-46 Rook Investigation has been reproduced with kind permission of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology (EGI), the two organisations behind the survey. The survey is held at the Alexander Library of Ornithology, Bodleian Libraries.

Tweet of the Day
ADMIN 13 Mar 2017 18:05:02
The BBC Tweet of the Day on Friday 10th March was the Rook, narrated by Bill Oddie. The podcast can be listened to here.

1945 Data Permission Granted
ADMIN 24 Feb 2017 17:00:04

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Edward Grey Institute (EGI) have given permission for the Bedfordshire rookery data from the 1944-46 BTO/EGI Rookery Census to be displayed on the website. This data has now been uploaded. The original field sheets for the survey are held in the Alexander Library archive.

A big thank-you to Sophie Wilcox, librarian at the Alexander Library and also to Professor Ben Sheldon of the EGI and Mike Toms and Peter Lack of the BTO. Thank you.

New Features
ADMIN 20 Feb 2017 15:51:45
Three new enquiries have been added to the website today. Two of these are heat maps, based on Google Maps, showing rookery or nest distribution by selected county or survey. The third is a map showing change in rookery distribution by hectad (10 km square) between selected survey years. All three may be accessed from the Enquiries Menu.

1945 Rookery Data
ADMIN 01 Feb 2017 11:29:19

The 1944-46 Rook Investigation was a joint British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology (EGI) survey. The original field sheets for this survey are held at the Alexander Library, Oxford. The 1945 Bedfordshire data was extracted from these field sheets on a visit to the library.

Unfortunately, there may be copyright implications to displaying these data, as that would be a reproduction of the original data which is in copyright until 2039. For this reason the 1945 Bedfordshire records have been removed while permission is sought from both the BTO and EGI to host this data.

ADMIN 26 Jan 2017 22:13:25
It all began with the 2013 Bedfordshire Rookery Survey which was prompted by seeing rookery data presented on a Google map. It subsequently evolved via a spreadsheet followed by a desktop application. Now, here it is. Welcome to the Rookery Website.
The Rookery Website allows the recording of rookery location and nest count data whether as part of an organised survey or on ad-hoc basis. Various reporting and mapping functions present the data in tabular or chart forms. Also included is an extensive list of references relating to Rooks and rookeries.

Record Date Rookery County Details Observer
Earliest: 1908 Jardine Hall: Laundry Cottage SDS 1020 nests TDGNHAS
Most Recent: 2018-05-04 Hyde Hall Farm EHT 25 nests GKnight
Largest: 1908 Jardine Hall: Laundry Cottage SDS 1020 nests TDGNHAS
Highest: 2016 Bigginmoor EDY 355 m RKHicks
Longest Use: 1908 - 2015 Jardine Hall: Laundry Cottage SDS 107 yrs  
Most Used: 1987 - 2017 Plumpton Old School ESX 31 yrs  
Northernmost: 2005 Dufftown C SMY Lat: 57.9790  
Easternmost: 0 Graveney: Four Horseshoes Park EKT Lng: 0.9376  
Southernmost: 2014 Combe EDN Lat: 50.2302  
Westernmost: 2017 Rockside SAL Lng: -6.4297  

Producing this website has been a labour of love. I have searched the web for references to earlier rookery surveys and have incorporated many of the features from those surveys. If you have any ideas for improving this website or you have stumbled across a bug, please use the Contact Form to get in touch. Thank you.

County Name Year Survey Title Contact
Bedfordshire 2018 Bedfordshire Rookery Survey 2018 rogerkhicks at hotmail.com
Bedfordshire 2017 Bedfordshire Rookery Survey 2017 rogerkhicks at hotmail.com
Lincolnshire 2017 Lincolnshire Rookery Survey 2017
Northumberland 2017 North Northumberland Bird Club Rookery Survey 2017 ringouzel at northnorthumberlandbirdclub.co.uk
Sussex 2017 Plumpton and East Chiltington Wildlife Group Rookery Survey: 2017 hutson.t at btinternet.com
Argyll 2017 Survey of Rookeries in Argyll: 2017 dcjardine at btinternet.com
Bedfordshire 2016 Bedfordshire Rookery Survey 2016 rogerkhicks at hotmail.com
Somerset 2016 Bramwell Rookeries 2016
Sussex 2016 Plumpton and East Chiltington Wildlife Group Rookery Survey: 2016 hutson.t at btinternet.com
Bedfordshire 2015 Bedfordshire Rookery Survey 2015 rogerkhicks at hotmail.com
Please seek prior permission from the website owner and data owners before extracting or deriving data from this website for third party commercial purposes.