Observation period: for about 60 minutes starting at 8:15PM along South Canal Street and then moving over to the west side of the Duck Bridge over the Merrimack River.

Conditions: mostly clear skies, wind from S at 8MPH, temp at 81F and sunset time 8:19PM

Arrived in the area near the Duck Bridge and after a few minutes watching Fish Crows fly by, headed over to west end of the New Balance building and along South Canal Street off of Merrimack Street. This has been a regular staging area for Crows in the winter roost during early part of winter roosting season. More than 200 young Fish Crows, actively vocalizing with one another, were gathering on the ground and on trailer truck rooftops around the truck depot area, on the ground and building rooftop inside of the the National Grid substation, and on utility wires along South Canal Street.

The image above shows the Fish Crows assembling on the western roof edge of the brick building inside the National Grid substation. This is a regular jump point in the staging process. The Crows will land atop the roof in growing numbers and then depart in smaller groupings around and to the east, onto the trees on the north side of the New Balance building. The image below shows the staging Fish Crows lining up in close spacing on nearby utility wires.

Departed this general location as the Crows moved in flight towards the trees along the Merrimack and on the north side of the New Balance building.  These trees provide a nice familiar roosting location. The Fish Crows make continued vocalizations while flying into the roost, and then quiet down shortly thereafter. Initially, they land on the these trees, and then move down a bit lower and out of sight. The photo below, taken about 10 minutes after sunset time, shows a few of the Fish Crows before they duck out of sight for the night!

These are yearling Fish Crows, and not yet in breeding mode. These are young social birds that likely fly, forage, and roost together in the summer months. There is very little published information on measures of breeding activity for Fish Crows. From what little is known, the Fish Crow probably does not breed until more than two years old.

Photo gear used for this outing:

Canon EOS 80D; Lens: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS   

Canon 1DX MK II; Lens: Canon EF Telephoto Zoom 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

ATN BinoX 4K 4-16x Day and Night Smart HD Binoculars with photo/video

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Blog post and photos by Craig Gibson, 2020 Crow Patrol, Lawrence, MA