Winter Rooks

My earliest recollections of rooks were in the winter when I was 7 or 8 years old.

The arable fields were stubble, the trees were on shutdown for the winter after the glorious autumn leaves had fallen and the sky was grey, overcast and dreary. These birds were common to see.

The group of rooks were feeding on the stubble moving around with their waddling gate, sticking their beaks into the ground looking for tasty morsels. As I got nearer, I disturbed them and up they flew heading towards the treeline with regular wing beats becoming ever smaller black silhouettes in the sky. Warning others of me with their raucous KAAk calls.

This piece of work "Winter Rooks"is my representation of this fond childhood memory of rural winter, of how even in the bleakness of the winter one finds wildlife, and raucous wildlife life at that in these noisy gregarious birds.

From my behavioural observations of these wild birds I wanted to focus on their flight behaviour. I sketched out several wing positions of a rook based on the wings moving down and forward in the down stroke of flapping flight, and back and up in the upstroke. I then choose a few positions that resonated most with me, that I felt most captured the essence and flying behaviour of these birds.

I choose to do small papercuts so the narrative focuses on the flying and interaction between a lot of rooks giving the illusion of swirling, soaring, flapping in the air. The largest size is 1 cm in diameter so its was difficult to cut the flight feathers accurately, I did my best!

When I put the 7 layers of the piece together one by one I was really pleased with how effective the papercuts are. Its always an unknown for me until they are put on the layers of wire if it will work or not, in some cases it only comes together for me on the last layer or 2. The shadows of the flight feathers also highlight the individual primary flight feathers well. Win win!

The collective noun for a rook is a parliament, a reference to rooks gathering in a big circle around 1 or 2 individual birds. I do hope you have enjoyed reading about by my parliament of rooks. To see more images or if your interested in buying it pop over to my online shop at

And on that note about the parliament I will leave you with this image:

PS Stay Safe and Stay Well

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