Sunday, 15 May 2011

Brancher Day

May 10th is traditionally known as 'Brancher Day'.  All the local farm workers would congregate with shot guns at a rookery and blast all the young rooks as they tentatively walked along the tree branches [hence the term 'brancher'].  Back then rooks were seen as a pest, but now they don't really make significant inroads into crops.  If anything they may even help the arable farmer by keeping slugs and other pests down.  Rook pie was also a popular dish, whereas now it is rarely eaten.  They appear to be amazing social and gregarious birds who keep an intelligent eye on everything that occurs on their 'patch'. 

If you look very carefully you might be able to see two rooks seeing off a very large buzzard in dramatic fashion.

1 comment:

  1. Crows may not get on with buzzards but they have a special relationship with storks according to medieval monk, Bartholomaeus Anglicus in his De proprietatibus rerum:

    "It is said that crows rule and lead storks, and come about them as it were in routs, and fly about the storks and defend them, and fight against other birds and fowls that hate storks. And take upon them the battle of other birds, upon their own peril. And an open proof thereof is: for in that time, that the storks pass out of the country, crows are not seen in places there they were wont to be. And also for they come again with sore wounds, and with voice of blood, that is well known, and with other signs and tokens and show that they have been in strong fighting."