Date: 4/25/18 6:03 am From: Dana Duxbury-Fox <danafox...> Subject: [NHBirds] Crow Patrol - They are back at the New Balance Factory
I just counted and Bob and I have been observing what I now feel are "our" crows (but we share them with all of you) for SEVEN months. I can hardly believe it has been that long.
The key factors of why we have had that longevity are: we do it together, we are retired and for a variety of reasons have not travelled afar for long this winter, we live close by, and having changed our big meal of the day to an earlier time (our stomachs like going to bed less full) we are free and not hungry at most folk's dinner time which is crow patrol time.
The big news is that the crows have returned to their home base of October to very late December (and where they have been other years) to roost. You can not imagine the deep sense of excitement we had on Monday night (the 23rd) as we were wheeling along Merrimack St. eastward trying to find the murder of crows I was sure were headed to the New Balance Factory roost. Why did they leave this site is another question? They were 15,000 stronger at their best and it was a very cold winter. The original site could not have accommodated so many I am sure. Also, I do not know if they ever moved out other years. We just do not have the records to show their past habits.
We had started out that night on the north side of the river parked on the southern end of Ames St. where they had staged for many of the previous nights. There were about 800 birds there when suddenly they all flew across the river. Thank heavens I was watching at that moment. I could just see a few sitting high in leafless trees on the south side of the river through the line of trees on the north side. Oh, my - off we sped going east on Water St. to Broadway hoping against hope that they had not flown back, over the bridge, turned west on Shattuck St., none at the Riley Park, none on the trees to our right along the river as we drove, none down Eaton St. We got on Andover St. and headed towards Industrial Way back to our old crow hunting habitat of a month ago and turned right to the end of the road by Haffner's. There they were, some started moving east. We quickly pulled out to Andover St. and found them in the back of the next driveway at the Neuco Building many on the roof. Suddenly, they all took off east. Well, as they say "I wish you were there". That ole adage "As the crow flies" is not how I can drive but drive I did. It is sunset, getting darker, there are pot holes- some bigger than others, but I'm getting to know those! There are street lights, stop signs, and one way streets and these streets are not in a bee line to where the crows are going. I keep admonishing Bob to keep his eyes on the crows. Imagine they can fly faster than I can drive. Suddenly, we can't see any crows. Where have they gone? I press on, onto Broadway to Merrimack St. hoping against hope I am right. Suddenly, a flock of hundreds of crows is moving to my left along the river towards the New Balance Factory. You can not imagine how excited I was - even Bob was excited. We got to South Union St. and headed over the bridge looking carefully to our left at the thin line of River Birch trees we knew to well from months past. A few were milling around. I got turned around at the first opportunity and back over the bridge where we went into the New Balance Factory parking lot on the east side of the street. It was now about 8:05 just a half hour after sunset - they know the timing!!! I pulled over to the left and back up as close to the road where I could see the tree tops across the street. The crows were filling in- there was even enough light to take pictures. The crows had flown 1.45 miles to get there. I can't tell you how excited I was.
How did they know where to come? Which crows are these? They are both Fish and American. By the way, Fish Crows nest two weeks later than American crows. Are these all non-breeders? Why had they come back here. Now, some may have come back on Sunday night as we "lost" 500 crows after sunset that night. I just didn't think they would stage so far away and then fly so far to this roost. So many questions.
Well, as you can guess we had to go back to make sure this was not a one day wonder. So last night (the 24th) back to Ames St. where there were no crows and a few flying across the river. Over to the Industrial Park again. This time there were a few hundred staging on the roof of the Gem building - across from the New Balance Distribution Center. Where were the others? Why here? Well, about sunset, they took off east and we were in pursuit. Again I am no match and they won again disappearing to the east. A few crows kept moving in our direction and we finally found them staging on the roof of the buildings to the south of the New Balance Factory. We parked to the west of the factory on that horrid dirt road where we could see the river and the buildings. Once down on the roofs to the south, the crows were not visible but they soon started to lift and swirl some right out over the river. Some were on the rooves of buildings on the north side of the river. Swirl and settle down, another group would rise and swirl. Bob thinks there were over 800 birds. Many must have staged in a different location. Soon it was like the ole days - birds on the ground, on the wires, and on the rooves. Just after sunset, they rose and moved out over the river circling around and finally settling down in the trees where we watched them from the parking lot again and Bob got some street side pictures.
How long will this go on??????
Also, a new exciting crow project is about to begin - more soon, and Craig Gibson and we are headed to "Crow School" as Craig calls it with the famous Professor John Marzluff in Washington State in June. What has happened to us?