Book review: ‘Crow Country’ by Mark Cocker

A meditation on birds, landscape and nature.

Crow Country

When naturalist Mark Cocker moves to his new home in Norfolk, he witnesses a spectacular display of crows heading off to roost. It’s a life-changing event. Suddenly Cocker has the crow bug.

This book describes six years’ rooking throughout the UK, with brief excursions to mainland Europe. Read it, and you will never think of crows as boring again.

As he becomes more familiar with their habits, Cocker comes up with a number of hypotheses about his beloved rooks. Occasionally, these hypotheses might seem a little odd, but I see no harm in that: we’ve all been there.

Crow Country is nature writing at its most enjoyable. I particularly appreciated its lack of sentimentality. Cocker clearly loves his crows, but he sees them for what they are: fascinating, living and breathing bundles of blood, flesh and feathers. We’ll probably never understand what’s going on inside their heads, but Cocker does at least have a go.

Highly recommended.

Note: I will receive a small referral fee if you buy this book via one of the above links.

By Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Website · Facebook · Twitter · Newsletter · Book

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On the Moor

Carter cleverly weaves in science at every opportunity, whether it’s inspired by direct observations of birds and animals and plants […] or spinning off from a trig point onto the geometric methods of surveying through history all the way up to GPS. […] All in all, this is probably best described as a great ramble on the moor with an expert guide. […] It’s a wuthering wonder.
Brian Clegg, popular science author and communicator, Popular Science Books

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