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The destructive rooks which first appeared in Northland 18 months ago are still on the loose.

The birds were first spotted around the Matauri Bay area, but they are cunning and elusive, and have so far evaded every attempt to get rid of them.

Regional Pest Management Officer Carl Cooper says he is very keen for people to phone the Northland Regional Council if they think they have seen a rook. “At this time of year they tend to mob up and stay put, so we have a better chance of controlling them.”

He says it is important that people do not disturb rooks or attempt to shoot them. They are extremely cunning, and take off as soon as they see a vehicle or person that might be a threat to them. Once they are disturbed, they may not be seen again in the same place for days or even weeks.

Mr Cooper says that there have been consistent reports of the birds around Matauri Bay and at Stony Creek near Mangonui, but it is possible that they are also living in other parts of Northland.

Rooks are slightly larger than magpies, but they are pure black and glisten in the sun. They fly with a distinctive slow wingbeat, with their wingtip feathers splayed. They have a distinctive hoarse “Aaaak” call.

Rooks are a very serious pest further south where they have multiplied into large flocks that can destroy crops and fruit.

Anyone who thinks they have seen a rook is asked to phone your Regional Council office or the environmental hotline

Information on rooks, including a colour pamphlet with a photograph of the bird, is available free of charge from any Northland Regional Council office.

Information supplied by Val Monk, Northland Regional Council

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