ABOUT THE BLOG

The city of Lawrence, MA lies in the heart of the Merrimack Valley near the border of southern New Hampshire. It is located in Essex County, along the Merrimack River, and is about twenty-five miles north of Boston. Lawrence enjoys a rich history as a city of immigrants, and has a large number of massive old brick textile mill buildings.

For decades, the city has hosted a significant winter crow roost. The winter crow roost consists of mostly American Crows, along with a much smaller number of Fish Crows. Typically, an hour before sunset, the crows gather in smaller pre-roost groupings. These pre-roost (staging) locations may change on any given night. The crows then converge after sunset time, into the final roost location. Some Crows may start as anchors in the final roost just before sunset, and then most other Crows join after sunset.  They will fly in over the following 60 minutes, until the roost quiets down completely for the night. For many years, the final roost location had been along the south side of the Merrimack River, by the New Balance building complex. Over the last two winter seasons, from October 2017 until spring 2019, the final roost location has changed many times. The size of the winter roost typically grows from an initial group of a couple of hundred Crows, as early as September, to over 25,000 crows in early 2019.

It is an amazing sight to see and you are invited to take a closer look, through this blog, to learn more and enjoy this awesome avian experience!

Members of the Crow Patrol

Craig Gibson

Craig Gibson

Craig Gibson is a well-known bird and conservation photographer. His current focus is on expanding awareness about the Winter Crow Roost in Lawrence, MA, the extended Merrimack Valley area, and Eastern Massachusetts. Craig designed and launched the blog and continues to oversee all editorial content. He has also been the lead on initiating and coordinating a range of activities and events with local arts, education, and community groups as well as working with a growing number of conservation and environmental organizations. He wrote and published a comprehensive 14 page report to recap the 2018-2019 winter season. Overall, his efforts have raised much greater awareness of the Winter Crow Roost, and he has been a catalyst for new citizen science initiatives.

In the fall 2017, Craig worked together in close collaboration with Bob and Dana to form the Crow Patrol in the Lawrence area. Over the past two winter seasons, they have documented more than 250 observation nights, while monitoring, documenting, and photographing the overnight staging and roosting of American and Fish Crows. Craig has made over 175 Crow Roost specific postings to eBird, an especially important data portal for citizen science projects around the globe.

Craig’s Crow photos and articles have appeared in the Essex Art Center exhibition; Bird Observer, the bi-monthly birding journal; a number of Mass Audubon Society publications, the local Eagle Tribune newspaper, the Cornell Lab Bird Academy’s new online course, “Anything but Common: the Hidden Life of the American Crow,” Muse an award winning magazine for students; a feature article in MassWildlife Magazine, as well as in a new Peterson’s Guide series book on bird behavior coming out by well-known author and naturalist John Kricher. He is also a frequent speaker and presenter on the Winter Crow Roost phenomenon.

Dana Duxbury-Fox

Dana Duxbury-Fox

Dana Duxbury-Fox became fascinated by birds at the age of eight; a fascination that continues today. Over the years, she has travelled widely to see birds, led bird trips, written articles about them, given talks, joined many ornithological organizations, and monitored many species of concern including the Common Loon, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Purple Martin and Common Nighthawk.

Over the past few years, a winter crow roost in a neighboring town caught her fascination. During the past two winter seasons, she and her husband, Bob Fox, with the help of Craig Gibson have closely monitored and documented this roost. As a result, she has written an article about crows and this roost, raised awareness about the roost and with Craig’s help has promoted media coverage.

Bob Fox

Bob Fox

Bob Fox also developed a keen interest in watching birds at an early age. Throughout his life he has been an active bird watcher. Since retirement, he and Dana have travelled the world to see birds. He was the co-author on the Birds of New Hampshire which documented over 100 years of bird sightings in that state. He has also become a member of many ornithological groups, led trips, given talks, and monored species of concern.

At the Greater Lawrence Roost, he is central to all activities and has become the official note taker and crow counter for nightly observations.