It's the influence of Spook that means that more than ever I am convinced birds have moods, feelings and possibly thoughts. I would challenge anybody that had reared a bird to disagree with me, but I have less worries about putting emotions onto birds than I used to. The rook are nesting at the moment, noisy, but I am hoping more controlled this year. I am hoping not to discover any nestlings that have fallen out the nest again. What happened to Spook? I don't know. My last confirmed sighting was in March, and it was while I was out feeding the sheep in the field. I heard him (despite popular belief all rook calls are very different) and called his name Spooky!. There were three rooks flying overhead (him and his two friends?) and one of them came and circled round above me, all the while calling and looking at me. He then flew on to catch up with the others.
He's done that a couple of times, and there are other unconfirmed sightings, but I really believe that he's still alive - if I saw him in March that means he made it through the worst of the winter weather - but he's fully rook now. He doesn't need us, and as he probably won't be breeding this year, he may have travelled far from his natal site (my home!) to adventure (all information from Coombs 1978 - I've not made this up!) but he might return here to breed in his second year. His absence makes sense, as I do not believe that he would suddenly stop recognising and replying to me.
He's astoundingly beautiful in his adult plumage, and I do experience a thrill any time I see a rook now (which is often - I am often happy nowadays!) because I feel like I have a greater understanding of them. I can appreciate their call, their blackness which is actually a mix of purples, greens, blues and intense blackness, their character and their curiosity. I would love to meet Spook again, maybe when he does start breeding he'll bring his young to see me! but I am immensely proud that he's gone. I had a conversation with a SSPCA officer while I was rearing him, and she could not remember ever having heard about a rook having been hand reared and also going out with other rooks, so we must have done something right. Maybe it was the influence of his two friends - the pair that would sit on the fence until he'd had his breakfast and then call him and take him away for the day - or maybe it's because the rookery was just there and because of that he always knew that he was a rook. Who knows. I believe he's out there, still enjoying his flying, and washing in warm weather. He'll still be making those little crooning noises when he's going off to sleep, and he'll still have the joy in his eye. This is what I wish for him, I just hope it's true!