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Flocks of black birds (1 Viewer)

Shtinky

Member
Italy
I am sure this is a very basic question, but I live in Italy where I am unfamiliar with the birds. I’m from the US. There are large flocks of black birds who roost together in the small copse of woods behind us every evening at sundown. They are loud raucous. I thought they were Rooks but the range for rooks doesn’t include Italy. I just want to know who I’m watching every evening! Thanks! EC234A6B-8D87-44BB-A023-EEDFEB0A35B3.jpeg
 

Shtinky

Member
Italy
hello Kits,
well the Collins Bird Guid shoes this picture for their range. That’s why I thought that. I assum a guide like Collins is accurate? 60863500-D108-4ECC-BB51-F426CC0E402D.jpeg
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Hi Shtinky and a warm welcome to you from all the Staff and Moderators.

It depends whereabouts in Italy you live, they're really only found in the north of the country. There may be some Jackdaws mixed in with them, but I'll leave that for others to sort out.

I'm sure you will enjoy it here and I look forward to hearing your news.
 

Shtinky

Member
Italy
Hello Delia,
thank you. We are dead center of Italy, and in the definite area the Collins Guide says is NOT their range. That’s why I joined the forum. I really would like to know who they are. I will await further replies!
we don’t have lots of birds here. The old Italian customs are alive in Umbria where the song birds are part of the traditional foods. Horrible and sad to me.
 

Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Hello,
welcome to birdforum from me, too!
I agree with Kits and Delia, they look like Rooks. Even, although Umbria is just south of the wintering range as shown in your Collins.
I looked at your "hidden object game"-picture searching for other species, but I have found only one so far, that might be a Jackdaw. Its the most right bird (just above the middle line). It doesnt look convincing to me (mainly by the head, which should be a tad smaller and rounded if its a Jackdaw) so it might well be another Rook. Do you have more pictures?
 

Shtinky

Member
Italy
We are not too far south of San Marino and I see they’ve been sighted there. And then even south of us to Rome. So I guess the bird guide is wrong. And thanks to everyone for the information! Now, in the evening when they are all flying and crying over my terrace to roost, I’ll know what they are!! I hate it when I don’t know!
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
So I guess the bird guide is wrong
One has always to be clear that these ranges can only be approximate. It's especially true today with climate change—the maps are probably based on records which are decades old but we've seen big changes in the last decade. An obvious point too is that birds are so mobile: why some people go crazy chasing unusual ones when they appear. In general the Collins maps are "roughly right".

Ebird's good in this respect because the data it gives are usually quite recent. But the quality of the data there is "variable"—identifying corvids in flight isn't always straightforward for example so there are likely to be some errors. The best source of info. is your local birding website / group.
 

Butty

Well-known member
This is a classic example of an occasion when eBird gen should be completely ignored. But it does seem odd that the Collins map appears to be so very 'wrong'. They certainly look like rooks.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
But it does seem odd that the Collins map appears to be so very 'wrong'.
Why? My printed second edition is copyright 1999, 2009. Just because it was copyright at that time does not mean that this particular map was updated since the first edition, or that it was new when the first edition got finalized into a version that could be copyrighted. This map can therefore be very old and outdated.
This is where maps generated from birder observations have a great advantage. The Fern is correct in stating that a more locally accepted collection might be better - I have not birded Italy so I do not know how good the acceptance of precisely ebird is there but there are places in Europe where it is pretty good.
Niels
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
This is a classic example of an occasion when eBird gen should be completely ignored. But it does seem odd that the Collins map appears to be so very 'wrong'. They certainly look like rooks.
You present no evidence for saying this. Suggest it would have been better to have done.

If one looks at the data in more depth, one can see a) there aren't many records in "southern" Italy (Rome etc) between 2015-2022 but also that b) many people recording rook are almost certainly competent observers (e.g. a regional reviewer, someone with a world list of 4,000 etc).

It's true that Niels' screen shot image above makes it seem more frequent than it actually is (includes records from, e.g., 1975) but I can't see anything that makes the data obviously invalid.
 

Shtinky

Member
Italy
I, of course, bow to experts. I do think these are rooks. I thought so too when I looked them up in the guide. I was just put off by the range in the book. I don’t see any other bird with the sillouette that these flocks have. And there are hundreds of birds in this group which roosts behind us. I think they are rooks. but I think it is odd I have seen no rookery. I saw them in England but see nothing like that around here. I am in Umbria. I don’t know any birders here.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
You present no evidence for saying this. Suggest it would have been better to have done.

If one looks at the data in more depth, one can see a) there aren't many records in "southern" Italy (Rome etc) between 2015-2022 but also that b) many people recording rook are almost certainly competent observers (e.g. a regional reviewer, someone with a world list of 4,000 etc).

It's true that Niels' screen shot image above makes it seem more frequent than it actually is (includes records from, e.g., 1975) but I can't see anything that makes the data obviously invalid.
You are correct, I should have limited the years shown to the last 10 before making the screenshot.
Niels
 

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