Rook is one of the most common birds in our country. Belongs to the corvid family. Rooks, like starlings, are heralds of spring in Central Russia. The distribution area of rooks is wide enough, these birds can be found throughout Eurasia - from the British Isles to the Pacific coast.
It is interesting that not all rooks are migratory; in the southern regions they lead a sedentary lifestyle. However, some individuals have adapted to winter even where frosts are strong enough. During this period, rooks move to cities, closer to human habitation. Moreover, in winter in cities there are no problems with food, there are enough dumps there.
There is a popular belief: if the rooks flew south and did not return to their nests in the spring, this is a harbinger of misfortune. For example, in the county of Kent (England) they are sure that there will be no heir in the house, next to which the nests were left empty. Therefore, the rooks were lured to their plots in every possible way and protected.
In the nineteenth century, there was an attempt to settle rooks in New Zealand. This experiment cannot be called successful: due to the small amount of food that would be suitable in these places for rooks, their numbers quickly declined.
Biologists at the University of Cambridge in the course of research have established that rooks are no more stupid than the New Caledonian crows, which are considered one of the most intelligent birds. And rooks, which are kept in captivity and trained by humans, are even able to use primitive tools.
For example, in order to get food from hard-to-reach places, rooks can use twigs or sticks. And the smartest ones even bent the edge of the wire to make it easier to reach their prey.
During the spring field work, the rooks always accompanied the plowman, looking for beetles, worms and larvae in the fresh furrow. Therefore, rooks were considered orderlies of grain fields, because they significantly reduced the number of insects that could damage crops.
Rooks arrive in the center of Russia in late February - early March, depending on the weather. Already in mid-April, they have chicks. Parents provide them with a fairly varied food - about 60 species of insects are included in the diet of chicks. A significant part of the chicks die from the attack of predators and from falling from the nest. It often happens that less than half of 5-6 chicks survive.
In Russia, on March 17 (4th according to the old style) in Russia, the day of Gerasim-Rookery was celebrated. On this day, the Orthodox Church honors the memory of two saints at once - Gerasim of Jordan and Gerasim of Vologda. And the people believed that a person born on this day would be hardworking like a rook.
Bird watchers have noticed that in every verge of the flock there is a leader from among the experienced birds. All other relatives obey him unconditionally. For example, if the leader gives a danger signal, the whole flock takes off. But the alarm signal of a young bird can simply be ignored.
In the summer of 1871, the Russian artist Alexei Savrasov finished work on one of his most famous canvases - the painting The Rooks Have Arrived. Soon he was visited by the famous collector and philanthropist Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov and offered Savrasov 600 rubles per painting. For that time, it was a lot of money. So the painting "The Rooks Have Arrived" ended up in the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery.