15 AUGUST 1947, Page 18

Beneficent Rooks

A letter with which I profoundly agree has reached me from a Rectory in North Ireland.

" Some months ago a talk on the subject of rooks was broadcast which suggested that, whilst the birds did some good,. they also did a considerable amount- of . damage to the crops. My experience is that rooks are altogether beneficial to the farmer. There is a strong colony by my house. Every year I grow a couple of acres of oats, a patch of wheat and the usual root crops. Every winter and spring the rooks may be seen in "hundreds feeding on the land, and every year the oat crop lives• splendid results. A- neighbouring farmer told me that after he had ..sown .oats, his fields. were .covered with rooks, and thinking that they were devouring the seeds, he shot a few, and opened their craws, expecting to find them full of seed, but to his surprise he found nothing but wireworm and leather jacket, and he made a vow that he would never shoot a rook again."

How often have I seen rooks congregate on a newly-drilled tilth and noticed later how fine a harvest succeeded!