Flight burst action!!

Nov. 14, 2022 under clear skies, wind W at 6MPH, temp 38F; sunset time 4:22PM

Out on Crow Patrol with first stops along Prospect Street, then driving around Prospect Hill while observing smaller gatherings of Crows arriving, vocalizing, and perching in neighborhood trees. Moved down to Marston Street to observe the incoming Crows. This image below captured at 9 minutes after sunset time.

Noticed a Red-tailed Hawk fly in and land on a fence post with a freshly caught Crow in its talons. It moved to a nearby low elevation rooftop and ripped the Crow apart causing a major uproar among the Crows arriving in the roost. The Crows were very vocal and flew about in huge circles over the hawk until it departed with prey in tow. This image about 18 minutes after sunset time.

The intermittent flight bursts continued under busy rush hour traffic below on Marston Street. The image below 24 minutes after sunset time.

At 40 minutes after sunset time, the Crows became more anchored in the roost trees along the south side of Prospect Hill. They were mostly settled in by 60 minutes after sunset time, with lingering but minimal flight movement within the roost. This image 43 minutes after sunset time. Another dazzling night!

For the 2021 Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for the Andover Circle, this separate Crow Count was 12,250 Crows. In 2020, the CBC Andover Circle Crow Count was 15,200. Many thanks to Donna Cooper who coordinates and compiles the Andover Circle each year!

Note on counts/estimates: we are now using improved methods for counting the large number of Crows while streaming, staging, and in the roost. For all images, we use both a modified open source counting software program, as well as a hand count approach to carefully document our observations and to significantly increase reliability and accuracy of the presented numbers. 

Remember to check out the latest Crow Patrol Podcast with John Macone (Merrimack River Watershed Council): wintercrowroost.com/podcast/

Photo gear used for most outings:

Canon EOS 80D with Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS 

Canon EOS 80D with Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (Infrared)     

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

Canon EOS R6 Mirrorless with Canon RF 24-70 f/2.8 L IS USM Lens

Sony AX700 4K HDR Camcorder

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Blog post and photos by Craig Gibson, 2022 Crow Patrol