Look out for rooks

One of the earliest and finest signs of spring is a rook with nest building material held in its beak. You can spot colonies of rooks – known as rookeries – in the tree tops across Britain, with eggs appearing around early March.

Single rook sitting on a branch

Attingham Park, Shropshire

Spring brings the park at Attingham back to life, with carpets of snowdrops and bluebells. You can also listen out for the cawing of rooks as they build nests at the top of the trees in Rookery Wood, behind the Stables.

Close view of rook nests in trees

Crook Peak, Mendips

The best time to start looking for rooks is mid-February, around Valentine’s Day. Take a walk to Crook Peak in the Mendips to see if you can look down from the ridge and spot the rookeries below.

Rooks flying above trees that contain rook nests

Malham Tarn Estate, North Yorkshire

Some of the country’s most atmospheric rookeries can be found near Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales. Take a spring time walk over desolate moorlands and through ancient woodlands to see if you can spot the colonies hard at work building nests.

Rook nests in trees beside the tower at Tattershall Castle

Tattershall Castle

A climb up to the top of Tattershall’s keep it worth the effort, and not just because of the spectacular views. Look down and you should be able to see the colony of rooks who have built their nests below. If you're lucky you might even spot some of the newborn rooks being fed by their parents.

The walkway along the river Wye

The Weir Garden, Herefordshire

There’s a large rookery at the west of end of the Weir Garden. The resident birds usually start building or refurbishing their nests in early spring, often coinciding with the gardens’ beautiful display of snowdrops.

Large rook nest in a tree

Tyntesfield, Bristol

Rooks are very sociable birds, and you're not likely to see one by itself. There are plenty of trees on the Tyntesfield estate for them to build their homes in, or you might spot them wheeling above the Gothic-style roofs and turrets of the house.