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Roosting Crows

1-1-13 American crows IMG_4589After the breeding season, American crows begin to gather in small, communal roosts. By early to mid-winter the number of crows occupying a roost reaches its maximum. In the morning, shortly before and after daybreak, crows leave their nocturnal roosts in small groups and fly in all directions leading to feeding grounds. After having spent the day feeding, roughly two to three hours before sunset, small groups of crows gather in pre-roost sites, and from these fly along regular flight lines towards their roost. They are often joined by additional crows at pre-roost sites visited along the way. The closer the crows get to their final roost, the larger the group becomes. The same roosting sites may be used for many years and the number of birds in them varies from a few hundred to many thousands.

6 responses

  1. Brenda Sloane

    I used to work in Lawrence, MA, and on the way to work in the late afternoon, I would see thousands of crows landing in the trees that line the Merrimack River.  It was quite amazing!  Happy New Year.  Sincerely,    BBS (Brenda Sloane)


    January 1, 2013 at 5:17 pm

  2. Pat Nelson

    A murder of crows!

    January 1, 2013 at 5:45 pm

  3. Judy Hinterlong

    When it snows, crows will come to my yard to eat from the feeders. They are intelligent, extremely wary birds, and will take off at the slightest movement or sound.

    January 1, 2013 at 10:14 pm

  4. When I see a flock of crows, I look for the sentinels, one or more members of the flock that keep watch for predators while the rest of the flock forages. Crows have a highly developed hierarchy within the flock.

    January 2, 2013 at 1:32 am

  5. The Hanover-Norwich Christmas Bird Count includes the roosting site for (it would seem) virtually every crow in the Upper Valley, located for the time being in the trees near the north entrance to DHMC. The murder is comprised of upwards of 10,000 birds that make quite a racket and are an amazing sight to see, some might say right out of the famous Alfred Hitchcock flick. Coincidence? ;-0
    I live in the immediate Connecticut River Valley in Fairlee, and all winter long witness dispersed members of this roost flying north in a stream of birds at dawn, and back south again later in the afternoon. There’s an operating dairy farm in the territory I cover as a counter for the CBC (Thetford), and yesterday there were over 200 crows in the silage pile there, along with 50 wild turkeys. All those freeloader’s appetites must cut into the farmer’s profits!

    January 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    • Thanks so much for this information, Mark. I look forward to checking out the DHMC roost, which I hadn’t been aware of!

      January 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm

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