Date: 3/25/18 3:25 am
From: Dana Duxbury-Fox <danafox...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Another Awesome night on Crow Patrol March 24th
That old adage "You should have seen it last night" rang out clear last
night.

Bob and I went out about 5:50 PM and looked out across the Merrimack River
from Eaton St. in Lawrence over the gated boathouse parking lot. A few
crows were moving west and a few coming in from the north headed to the
south side of the river.

In a few minutes, we drove back to Andover St. and west to Industrial Drive.
The very large flat roofed New Balance Distribution Building (NBB) is
straight ahead of you and Haffner's Energy Building is to the right at the
stop sign. The birds were heading west over the NBB so we turned left and
at the far end of the building we found crows staging to our right in the
distant trees beyond the west gated parking lot, in the parking lo, on the
road and on the ground on both sides of the marsh. Birds kept streaming in.
As there was hardly any traffic, we just sat in the car and studied the
birds. The vast array of American Crows (AMCR) calls are fascinating to me
punctuated by a Fish Crow's nasal call now and then. We are now getting very
good at identifying the smaller, shorter legged Fish Crows with their
different posture. There were a few white marked AMCRs with in the rump or
secondaries. Was it just whitewash? They seemed to be trying to find small
berries which had fallen from a tree with new gray-white buds. One AMCR
sitting on the curb at the edge of the parking lot would bend down, puff up
and pump as it gave a five-caw series repeatedly even continuing when the
others had lifted and moved up to the trees. What was he saying? - of
course, it was a he! The rattle call, the comb call and many variations of
caws filled the air.

Many crows began to sit on the roof of the NBB. Others would swirl around
now and then and change where they perched. Soon they began to move into the
trees to the south of the NBB. We turned around, moved to the east end of
the tree patch and watched as the numbers grew. Now they started to gather
on the flat roof of the building on the south of the street. We turned
around and Bob started counting the birds in the trees and as they came off
the NBB to sit in the trees, many began to sit of the other roof. As sunset
approached, masses of crows would lift and swirl around. We turned around
again and faced east. I was sure they would roost in the trees, but I was so
wrong.

Again, and again the different flocks- thousands of birds - would rise and
settle down again on the other building, some on the snow and some in the
trees. It was noisy. For thirty minutes this went on - they just could not
make up their mind where they were going to roost. Why? Which crows were
leading this massive up and down, here and there? Questions but no answers.
We have never seen them so agitated. Suddenly, decisively they all began
streaming north over the NBB

We drove east to the open Haffner's parking lot and could not see any crows
to the rear of the NBB and could hardly hear them. It is DARK now. Off to
the boathouse - no crows along the way or in the trees where they had
roosted last night. I couldn't see any across the river in the barely
visible tree tops. I got out of the car, a few crows were calling nearby and
suddenly high to the left swirling out over the road barely visible were
thousands of crows. Never have we seen this - so undecided, so late. Where
did they eventually roost? I suspect along the river to the west of us, but
I'll never be sure.

Dana





North Andover, MA




 
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