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ROOK (Corvus). This bird differs not greatly in its form from the of the bill; which in the crow are well clothed with feathers, but in the rook are bare, or covered only with some bristly hairs. This arises from its thrusting the bill into the earth after worms and erucae of insects, on which it feeds; for it does not live on carrion. It feeds on all sorts of grain, with some loss to the husbandman, but which is doubly repaid by the good done him in extirpating the maggots of the chafer beetle, which in some seasons destroy whole crops of corn. The rook is a gregarious bird, sometimes being seen in immense flocks, so as almost to darken the air. These flights they regularly perform morning and evening, except in breeding time, when the daily attendance of both male and female is required for the use of incubation, or feeding the young; for they do both by turns. As they form themselves into societies, such places as they frequent during the breeding time are called rookeries; and they generally choose a large clump of the tallest trees for this purpose. The eggs are like those of crows, but less, and the spots larger. They begin to build in March, and after the breeding season forsake their nest trees to roost elsewhere, but return to them in August: in October they repair their nests. In Britain they remain the whole year: yet both in France and Silesia they are birds of passage. Linnaeus says they build in Sweden. The young birds are accounted good eating, especially if put in a pie. A beautiful and singular specimen of this bird (a female) was shot, in May, 1827, at Avebury, near Kennett: the head a dark rusty gray; neck and back light cinereous gray ; breast and belly a shade or two darker than the back; scapula and wing coverts light ash-colour ; quill feathers and tail cinereous gray, slightly barred with black.

Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.

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