One night Mark Cocker followed the roiling, deafening flock of rooks and jackdaws which regularly passed over his Norfolk home on their way to roost in the Yare valley. From the moment he watched the multitudes blossom as a mysterious dark flower above the woods, these gloriously commonplace birds became for Cocker a fixation and a way of life. Journeying across Britain, through spectacular failures, magical successes and epiphanies, Cocker uncovers the mysteries of these birds' inner lives.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2008 SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE
"Luminously beautiful and dartingly intelligent, Cocker's obsessive quest after the ancient trails of rooks across our dusk skies leads to an almost sacred space: a place where the landscape of the imagination and the lovingly, minutely observed realities of the natural world come to roost together" (Richard Mabey)"Here's a slim book to squeeze into that last corner of the holiday suitcase. It coins a new word for a new enthusiasm - corvophile - and it's guaranteed to ensure that you never look at a crow in quite the same way again.... After his description of the spectacle of 40,000 gathered at the rookery near his home in Norfolk, it will be hard to ever treat them with dismissive contempt again" (Madeline Bunting Guardian)"Fabulous... Like all classic works of natural history, is an extraordinary revelation of riches and wonders and that lie at our doorsteps, completely ignored" (Independent)"A splendid book...Crow Country's narrative of rookish discovery unfolds with splendid variety, incorporating scientific exposition, biography, environmental history, poetry, memoir and biography. Cocker has a remarkable ability to evoke landscapes and species. Your heart beats faster as he describes a pack of tight-packed wigeon flushing in fear from an icy creak. You feel the shock of recognition as a barn owl meets his gaze. It's infectiously emotional. At it's most lyrical Crow Country matches the heights of that deeply eerie work of avian obsession JA Baker's The Peregrine; yet at its most scientific, it could sit alongside the best ornithological monographs... Crow Country is a significant, beautiful work" (New Statesman)"Exquisitely written, passionate exploration of the local and commonplace.....Crow Country, the work of one of our most gifted and original nature writers, provides fascinating revelations about corvid behaviour and an affirmation of where that enigmatic species known as the naturalist really fits in the natural world" (BBC Wildlife)