Raven and rook populations doubled

12/05/2003 10:00

Since 1990 the numbers of ravens and rooks in the Netherlands have more or less doubled. The number of carrion crows has increased by about 20 percent in the space of ten years. Other members of the crow family are prospering less. The number of hooded crows has dropped strongly and the number of magpies fell by a third between 1990 and 2001.

Crow family (Corvidae)

Raven and hooded crow

Ravens are primarily scavengers. There are few of them in the Netherlands and they live mainly in quiet and extensive woodland areas. Around 1930 ravens were extinct in the Netherlands. In the seventies and eighties some two hundred German ravens were brought to the Veluwe region and the species has now settled well there. Because there has been less suitable food, partly caused by the fall in the number of rabbits, the number of breeding pairs has been falling somewhat in the last few years. The hooded crow, a winter visitor, has been migrating less and less far southwards in the course of the years.

Damage

Jackdaws, crows, rooks and magpies can cause a lot of damage to newly sown agricultural crops and they also forage for eggs of meadow birds. If farmers can prove that the birds have damaged crops, they may be granted permission to scare, disturb or kill these protected species.

Lodewijk van Duuren