Jan. 8, 2023 under pre-dawn clear skies, wind NW 8MPH, temp 23F wind chill 14F; sunrise time 7:14AM
Out on Crow Patrol just after the start of astronomical twilight (5:33AM) until close to the end of civil twilight just before sunrise time. First looks were in the trees around the outer perimeter of the guest parking lot at the hospital with smaller numbers of Crows perched at lower levels and starting their wake up vocalizations. This image captured at 84 minutes prior to sunrise time.
The largest grouping of Crows were packed in dense formation among the lower tree levels at the very SW corner of Prospect Hill by the intersection. The volume of the wake up vocalizations rose significantly from 75 minutes until 30 minutes before sunrise. This image of the overnight roost was captured 65 minutes before sunrise time.
Around 45 minutes before sunrise time, the Crows started to make a number of spectacular flight bursts, and after each outbound flight loop, returned to the roost area trees. This image captured at 42 minutes before sunrise time.
By 35 minutes before sunrise, most of the Crows had departed trees around Prospect Hill, and smaller numbers had consolidated in trees around hospital lot. By 20 minutes before sunrise, the Crows had largely dispersed for the day and vocalizations dropped off as well. This image captured at 30 minutes before sunrise time. Amazing action all around!
For the 2022 Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for the Andover Circle, this separate Crow Count was 13,750 Crows. In 2021, the CBC Andover Circle Crow Count was 12,250. 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, while outside next to the roost, to carefully document our observations and to significantly increase reliability and accuracy of the presented numbers. Please refer to our new roost counting guide on main page.
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 EOS R6 Mirrorless with Canon RF 28-70 f/2 L IS USM
Canon EOS R6 Mirrorless with Canon RF 50 f/1.2 L USM
Sony AX700 4K HDR Camcorder
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Blog post and photos by Craig Gibson, 2023 Crow Patrol