Flight streams!

Dec. 12, 2022 under clear skies, wind NW 7MPH, temp at 32F; sunset time 4:11PM

Out on Crow Patrol with initial stop at intersection of Marston/Prospect Streets to observe incoming Crows. The flight streams tonight were exceptional with major streams coming in from upriver and to the east. This image is looking east towards Rt. 495 bridge at 24 minutes post sunset.

It was some of the most exhilarating flight action ever with endless flight bursts and boisterous vocalizations. The flight streams coming from the east were larger than normal with many crazy oversized flight swirls. This image shows a flight swarm rolling down along Prospect Street at 25 minutes post sunset.

The Crows settled into the roost trees in growing numbers and then repeatedly exploded into momentary flight bursts with return back to roost trees. At times these flight bursts expanded farther out over to the south side of Marston Street. The Crows will often burst out, circle around, and return to the roost. These overhead moments fill the sky with sights and sounds. This image at 35 minutes post sunset.

After 45 minutes, more Crows were arriving and hundreds landed on the roof at One Marston Street. We’re now back to one roost with almost all Crows gone from New Balance. This image below shows a very dramatic takeoff moment for the Crows on the roof against the magnificent sky backdrop. Image captured at 47 minutes post sunset. One of the most amazing nights ever!

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