Aerial views after dark!

Nov. 29, 2022 under overcast skies, wind E 3MPH, temp 40F; sunset time 4:12PM

Out on Crow Patrol along Marston Street with incoming flight streams well underway from the E, S, and NW. One of the nearby final staging locations is atop the roof area at Marston Medical Center. This is often the final stop on the way into the overnight roost. They leapfrog at different locations while on final approach to the roost; from this Marston Medical rooftop they fly right into the roost tree tops. This image captured at 13 minutes post sunset.

On overcast nights the Crows tend to return to the roost on the early side. The flight streams became heavier with wild vocalizations, but the intermittent flight bursts were lower than normal tonight as the Crows quickly settled in for the night. This image shows one of the amazing flight bursts. They last for a moment, then the Crows quickly resettle back into the roost trees; often these bursts will include 70%-80% of the roosting Crows, but not all of them lift off in flight. This image captured at 23 minutes post sunset.

It became quiet by 45 minutes after sunset time with diminished vocalizations and only minor movements within the roost. Image at 46 minutes post sunset.

About 45 minutes later, made a check on the roost trees along the New Balance building and found a full load of roosting Crows the length of the building. Image captured about 90 minutes after sunset time with all manual camera settings. 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):

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