Major flight bursts!

Dec. 22, 2022 under heavy overcast skies, wind E 6MPH, temp at 42F; sunset time 4:14PM

On Crow Patrol along lower Marston Street near big intersection. Crows were seen arriving earlier than normal from all directions. After sunset time the size of the incoming flight streams increased substantially, mostly from the S and W. Large numbers assembled in trees farther up Prospect Street and along Marston Street. This image at 13 minutes post sunset time.

Around 20 minutes after sunset time, major flight bursts were seen out over Prospect Street by the hospital. This image at 19 minutes post sunset time.

By 30 minutes after sunset time, the flight bursts continued but clearly with an effort to converge into the overnight roost area by the intersection with clamorous vocalizations. this image at 32 minutes post sunset time.

By 45 minutes after sunset time the roost area was densely packed in hillside trees by the intersection and noise levels fell off to much lower levels. This image at 46 minutes post sunset time. An amazing night!

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. 

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