Timelapse Video!

Feb. 20, 2024 under clear skies, calm wind conditions, temp 34F; sunset time 5:22PM

Out on Crow Patrol with initial stops nearby to scout out nearby staging locations. Joined tonight by 47 attendees for the annual Crow Patrol walk/talk hosted by our friends and staff at the Merrimack River Watershed Council (MRWC). Special thanks to John Macone, MRWC Director of Policy and Education, along with Curt Rogers, MRWC Executive Director. It was an exuberant group and we initially met in the parking lot at the Marston Medical building located at 25 Marston Street. Early incoming flight streams from the west arrived close to sunset time with light vocalizations; they continued their flight past the roost trees. Around 10 minutes post sunset, new flight streams roared in downriver and just east of the Marston Medical building. Over next 30 minutes these flight streams increased dramatically in scope and size. This image at 15 minutes post sunset time.

At 20 minutes after sunset time, small groups of Crows landed and perched on the treetops at east end of the tree line along Marston Street. Image at 19 minutes post sunset.

This was followed by massive incoming flight streams, mayhem around the treetops, loud vocalizations, and a never ending number of dazzling flight bursts out over the Marston Street and Prospect Street intersection with heavy vehicle traffic all around. Image at 40 minutes post sunset time.

The group from MRWC was in total awe and enjoyed the amazing spectacle. Although the MRWC registrations were limited to 40 people, we ended up with a larger group. All of them very enthusiastic to experience the crow roost in person and engage in endless Q&A!

At 100 minutes post sunset time, the movement around the roost subsided to a low point as did the vocalizations. This is a look up the roost tree line as it stretches around the corner of the intersection. Another stunning night!

For the 2023 Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for the Andover Circle, this separate Crow Count was 11,600 total Crows, including American Crows and Fish Crows. In 2022, the CBC Andover Circle Crow Count was 13,750. 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.

The Canon mirrorless cameras with the RF 50mm f/1.2 lens and the RF 28-70mm F2 excel in low-light conditions, blending versatile focal lengths with an ultra-wide aperture. Both focal lengths work extremely well in very low light conditions, while the f/1.2  and F2 aperture settings ensure exceptional performance in low light conditions, offering stunning clear, and aesthetically pleasing images, making them ideal for the challenging very low light conditions around the overnight roost.

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 II Mirrorless with Canon RF 50 f/1.2 L USM 

Sony AX700 4K HDR Camcorder

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