The Roost after dark!

Jan. 15, 2022: clear skies, wind NW 14MPH gusts 23MPH, temp at 10F, wind chill -5F; sunset time 4:36PM

Out on Crow Patrol with scouting stops around north end of Prospect Hill area. Many flight streams seen heading towards the east side of Holy Family Hospital. After driving around many streets in this residential neighborhood, the Crows were staging in roughly a 1/4 mile radius centered on the intersection of Jackson Street and East Street. The were vocalizing loudly, perching on rooftops, and utility lines, with small pockets on the ground. We moved back to Prospect Street in the area around the north end of the hospital a few minutes after sunset time. While waiting for the Crows to arrive, minutes after sunset, and starting to have doubts, numerous flight swirls were seen at a distance looking out to the NW, with beautiful sunset sky colors.

We made a move out, heading north on Prospect Street, and pulling into a church parking lot on Vine Street, about 15 minutes after sunset time. It was clear from the sustained and loud vocalizations that we were in the right spot for the overnight roost. The Crows were landing in the trees located around the rear of the lot, and in nearby trees and rooftops. This image below show the view looking south at the Crows arriving in the general roost area.

We observed many incoming flight streams with the biggest numbers from the NE and NW. In residential neighborhoods, the Crows will assemble nearby on rooftops, utility wires, and on the ground before heading to the overnight roost. This image below shows a flight burst of Crows a few blocks away about 20 minutes after sunset time.

At 30 minutes after sunset, we moved to the Brook Street area. The almost full moon was rising and cast a bright glow upon a group of Crows gathered in a nearby tree. This image was captured about 32 minutes after sunset time.

We walked around Scarito Park, while observing the Crows in the tree tops. Scarito Park opened in 2006 and stands today as a shining example of the value that a beautiful, community-designed open space can bring to a neighborhood. It was also the first new park to be completed as part of the new Spicket River Greenway. The Crows were vocalizing loudly and settling into the trees along both sides of the Spicket River and Bloody Brook. According to historians, the name Bloody Brook comes from a terrific battle between two Indian tribes before the arrival of English settlers. As always, there were continuous flight bursts that are dazzling to watch, especially when you see so many birds in flight all at one! Another amazing night on Crow Patrol!

The estimate for the 2021 Audubon Christmas Bird Count in the Andover Circle for this separate Crow Count is 12,250 Crows. Last year, the 2020 CBC Andover Circle Crow Count was 15,200.

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 newly launched Crow Patrol Podcast:

Photo gear used for this outing:

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 R5 with a Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM           

Canon 1DX MK II with Canon EF Telephoto Zoom 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

Sony AX700 4K HDR Camcorder

ATN BinoX 4K Smart HD Binoculars with photo/video

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Blog post and photos by Craig Gibson, 2021 Crow Patrol