Sarah Arsenault of Mass Audubon joined Bob and me on Crow Patrol. We left the New Balance Parking lot at 3:45 and headed west on Merrimack St. We visited our favorite viewing area just off Broadway St. Rt. 28 pulling in to a little driveway just over the bridge on the north side. From there you get a great view of the dam and the now frozen Merrimack River. It was sunny, sunset at 4:48, winds of 11 mph from the south and temperature in the mid-30’s . A few crows were out on the frozen ice but others flew west over the trees signaling that they were roosting further west. There were hundreds of gulls – including some white-winged gulls (bring your scope to get a good view of them).

We soon went back over the bridge and attempted to turn right at the second right (Shattuck St.) which was temporarily blocked off. The next right let us weave our way back to the Shattuck, Rowe, Everett St. which follow the river where we pulled into the Riverfront State Park – only a few crows moving westward. Back to Everett St. and on to Eaton St. (watch the many STOP signs) and up (towards the river) to the Abe Bashara Boathouse with its large parking lot and great view of the river. Crows were gathering on the ice, in the trees on the far side and some were still moving west. No big accumulation beyond the boat house.

Bob finally spotted some much further up the south side – SO back out Eaton St. to Everett where we turned right and left at the first road. This brought us to Andover St. ( a busier street) where we turned right (west) and drove along to the first road – the Lawrence Industrial Park. We drove in the road to the first left looking for crows. Right ahead of you there is the very big New Balance Distribution Center. We drove to the far end of the building and found loads of crows making a myriad of calls – many Fish Crows too. We later drove further west and went around the parking lots of two commercial building feasting on our many crow observations – showing Sarah the physical difference between Fish and American Crows.

As we headed back and approached the NB building crows seemed to be lifting up and moving to the trees along the river. It is past sunset now and suddenly they seem to disappear to the east. Off we go, no crows ahead along the river, out the road to Andover St. Turned left to get back to Everett and down Eaton – no crows at the boathouse, back out Eaton to Everett to the Riverfront Park where we pulled in along the river and oh, my gosh Bob said “There they are”. Out on the ice, in front of us nearer the far shore, in the dim light highlighted here and there by a bright light were thousands of crows. We even all got out of the car and saw many further east – 20,000+ crows roosting on the ice. It takes your breath away. What a marvelous wonder it is. What an adventure every night trying to discern their presence.

Dana Duxbury-Fox
North Andover, MA