Monday, October 18, 2022: heavy overcast skies with light rain, wind E 10MPH, temp at 56F; sunset time 5:59PM

Out on Crow Patrol with initial observations about 30 minutes before sunset of Crows arriving and staging atop the brick Everett Mills building. The Crows lined along the west side roof edge and around the outside clock. Built in 1909, the Everett Mill was once the largest cotton mill in the world.

A few minutes later, after scanning the sky and building tops to the south, looked back towards the west and noticed a large group of Crows had lifted off and were airborne in flight towards the Clock Tower. It must have been a big chunk of the group assembled on the mill rooftop. How do they know to all go out once and what is the signal….one of so many questions on group behavior! This image, captured about 23 minutes before sunset time, was taken from Island Street.

Next stop along Merrimack Street with Crows seen in flight and assembling on both sides of railroad tracks, and on the rooftop of the B&D advanced Warehousing complex. Another gathering location was the nearby tan colored building that had been occupied by the Lawrence Pumps company. The Texas company that owned Lawrence Pumps, closed the plant in 2017

As always during the final staging activities, there were an endless number of intermittent flight burst activities and loud vocalizations. The Crows continue to use the rooftop on the extended B&D Warehouse facilities as a staging area before converging into the overnight roost area nearby. This view is from the top of the McGovern parking garage looking west.

While observing from Merrimack Street at the corner of the New Balance building, had a chance to observe final staging flight movements as the overall winter roost numbers continue to build each week!

The 2021 Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for the Andover Circle, this separate Crow Count was 12,250 Crows. In 2020 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 increase reliability and accuracy of the presented numbers. 

Remember to check out the latest Crow Patrol Podcast with Prof. Sylvia Halkin:

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

Sony AX700 4K HDR Camcorder

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Blog post and photos by Craig Gibson, 2022 Crow Patrol