Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crows!

So, the crows have been making their presence known lately - you can't NOT notice them! They arrive in great numbers, often towards the end of the day, feeding together before they head off to roost. The flock has been observed at lunchtime too, though - taking over the A21 courtyard, hanging out on the edge of the roof, and making a real ruckus. I took this photo one afternoon around 4:30 in the A21 parking lot - here you only see about a quarter of the flock.
Our most common crow is Corvus brachyrhynchos, the American Crow, another crow which we might encounter at West Campus is Corvus ossifragus, the Fish Crow (smaller) or Corvus corax, the Northern Raven (larger). To go into detail about how to distinguish would make this blog a little too wordy.
Cornell University's Birds of North American Online has a lot of information about crows.
I have pulled out some general facts from this website about their roosting behavior:
"Crows roost communally; often the same sites are used year after year. Outside of the breeding season, such roosts may contain thousands of local individuals, their numbers often augmented by migrants from northern regions."
"Starting 2–3 hours before sunset, small groups of local crows gather in preroost sites, including trees, buildings, and on the ground. From there, they fly along regular flight lines toward the roost but may stop at one or more additional preroost sites, where they are joined by other small groups."
video
A rather low-quality movie (17 seconds) taken with my little Nikon Coolpix 7600 - you may have to turn up the volume on your computer to hear the crows cawing amongst themselves.
So, historically there has been a crow roost somewhere in West Haven. I'll have to do a little more research to find out where. For now, as long as food is plentiful, I can say that we are definitely a "preroost" site for the West Haven crow roost.

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