The reports in this listing span about a decade. Some of the older reports may no longer be applicable due to natural roost movement, environmental changes, and or the effects of West Nile Disease on the crow populations.
Please stay tuned for the next installment.....
ROOST LOCATION REPORTS NEEDED!
Gathering information about crows throughout all of North America is very difficult, particularly if, like crows.net, you rely upon information voluntarily submitted by observers who chance to find the website and are interested enough in crows to send in observation reports. This can be particularly frustrating when dealing with a major behavioral phenomena, like winter communal roosts which, in some parts of the country are an incredibly dramatic phenomena, but in others might be far less significant or not even occur at all. Looking at our Roost Location maps below, all the reported roosts cluster in the Northeast United States and Southeastern Canada, in the U.S. around the Great Lakes, and along the west coast from California up to the Vancouver area.
crows.net is interested in receiving reports of winter roosts from all areas of North America, but we would be particularly grateful to get information concerning those located in areas for which we have no information plotted on the map. Please send roost reports to firstname.lastname@example.org with as precise information regarding the location of roosts as possible. Street names and/or GPS co-ordinates would be very helpful Your help is greatly appreciated. (Michael Westerfield)
North American Crow Roost Map
North American Crow Roost Map
Roosts reported to crows.net, 2011 - 2012 roosting season.
UPDATED: 3/6/2010. RECENT ROOST REPORTS
March 6, 2010: I can't believe that this one is not listed! A large roost numbering in the several thousand (perhaps more than ten thousand) has been gathering for years in Stony Brook, NY. The exact location seems to change from night to night but centers at the the wooded sections at the intersection of Nicolls Rd and rt 347. Although the location changes, they always seem to be within a two mile radius of the location above. The roost is active all year long. (Phil Medina)
March 4, 2010. Bethlehem Pennsylvania has a crow roost that exceeds the hundreds of crows I have read about in the other reports you have received. This roost has tens of thousands of birds that have gathered each evening for the past several months. The roost has grown since December and is still very active as of March 4, 2010. It will probably disband in mid March. See photos below. The roost occurs in W. Bethlehem between Broad Street and Union Blvd. in the area along the Monocacy Creek. It did move once this year, but not very far. It is in the backyard of the Hotel Bethlehem. The city has tried to move the roost by using noise and lasers, but the crows are too smart. The roost just continued to grow as the season progressed.(Linda Anthony).
February 26, 2010: Just wanted to let you know that the crows in Portland, Maine are still gathering in the West End. I've noticed them several times now right before dusk, their location changes slightly each time. I estimate there to be about 1000 of them. A few weeks ago in January I saw them in Deering Oaks Park. They had totally covered the tennis courts there and the surrounding trees. I thought I was seeing things. They're always very vocal and do not seem too concerned with people getting in their way. They'll circle around, but return to the same spots with signs of geographical intention. I don't see them for weeks at a time though, and am not sure where they go. The latest I've seen them was about a week ago from today, the 26th of February. (A.C.)
February 26, 2010: I live in Reading PA. Every night there are hundreds of crows in the trees along 2nd and Walnut Streets. Around 6 am they begin to fly all around the google works parking lot making noise so loud you can hear it inside the houses for blocks up and down second Street, and Walnut Street and surrounding areas. (C.W.)
February 24, 2010. University of Washington and Cascadia Community College location in Bothell, Washington. Every evening around 6:00 pm huge flocks of crows (thousands for sure) are flying from few different directions. They are very loud and sometimes it looks like they are fighting with each other. After some time of what looks like total madness they settle down in the trees and quiet down as you describe. (I.T.)
February 23, 2010. Tonight a massive amount of crows were flying around my home and block in the inner city of Muskegon Michigan, 1800 block of Sanford St. near the corner of Laketon Ave. These birds were roosting in several of the native oaks around the block. They would occasionally fly land in other trees. Small limbs would fall as they would begin flight from the trees. This was an odd feeling to say the least, to see this many crows at once. I had seen murders of the in the recent past but nothing of this size. What is so odd about it is that it was almost dark at 7:18 pm and I always have known birds to fly only in daylight.
2/17/10. Hundreds of crows have been roosting in the trees at the intersection of Arlington Rd, Newfield St and Dwinell St in West Roxbury (Boston) MA. On 2/17/10 they were in about 5-6 trees just in the evening and all left about 10PM. There were at least two other days this month where they were there all night and left at dawn, I've never seen anything like it in Boston. (C.W.)
February 6, 2010. I live in Lansing, Michigan on West Holmes Road and I have been watching thousands of crows in my back yard since October. I have been so amazed by the patterns of these beautiful birds that I videoed them from early evening throughout the night, in the morning and again the following evening. I have never experienced such a fascinating sight in my life, not to mention the loud chirping and cawing. The birds are so loud that I can hear them from inside my house. My video is truly a wonderful documentation of these beautiful birds in flight circling around my house!!! I watched them for hours in total awe!!! (Mary Jo Rousseau)
February 6, 2010. Was researching crows behavior regarding huge flock of crows that have settled in three large maple trees in my neighborhood today 2/6/10/ There must be several hundred crows. It's like the The Birds movie. This is on Realton Road, Parklawn St And Weld street block in West Roxbury, Boston, Suffolk County Massachusetts. They just settled here suddenly, I seen this before in other parts of Mass, but never here until today.
February 6, 2010. There is a huge congregation in downtown Rochester, New York. They gather at dusk along the Genesee River just south of downtown, along the University of Rochester campus and Mt Hope Cemetery. When the river is frozen they will often gather on the ice in the river. As it gets darker they head into town. I do not know where they roost but hope to investigate at some point during my stay. This has been happening for at least six years. (Bruce and Betsy Kappel)
February 3-4, 2010. It is quite a sight driving west on Hwy 94 seeing groups of Crows of at least 100 birds each flying across the hwy. Also, seeing roosting in trees of at least 50 Crows. All in all by the time I approached the exit for Hwy 55 I must have seen at least 1,000 Crows. That was the second instance I saw them. The first time I saw the same sight driving west on Hwy 94 approaching downtown Minneapolis, MN. That time I exited off Hwy 94 unto Hwy 394 and saw hundreds of Crows. (Linda Levin)
February 4, 2010. There is a crows roost in Boston, MA. Its in my parents back yard, there are hundreds and hundreds of crows. Thanks for the info on your site. We had no idea what was going on and find this kind of strange to be happening in a city. The neighborhood is on the outskirts of Boston, but still within the city limits. [The area is on Roxbury Parkway between Washington and Centre Streets] (Elayne Burke)
February 2, 2010. Plattsburgh, New York. A large murder, probably close to 100,000 crows, were seen flying over head on Rt. 3 (the main shopping street). They formed a thin blanket of black all flying for 2 or so miles west along Rt.3 towards the empty Clinton County Airport Runway (at least the trail of birds stopped just as I passed the driveway). Also seen in the old Ames Plaza during dusk, covering the parking lot & they are also seen near the college and hospital in smaller quantities as stated in another post. This seems to be the 3rd or 4th year they have been here, today being the most I have ever seen. (Beth Barnes)
February 2, 2010.For the past several years (December-February time period) at dusk, thousands of crows flock to the intersection of Interstate 394 and 94. This is located about 1 mile southwest of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Mike Wedell)
1/28/2010: I would like to report a large crows roost in North Central West Virginia. The roost is located in the city of Fairmont, Marion County along the Monongahela River in many large trees. There may be several thousand Crows in a winter roost there. They fly up out of the roost as the day breaks. One additional detail in terms of the location of the roost is that the trees are directly under and beside the Third Street bridge in Fairmont. Gwen Jones, Morgantown, WV
1/26/2010: On Cornelius St in Plattsburgh, NY is a group of what appears to be thousands of crows that make a ruckus in the evening. Not sure where they end up but they are a nuisance. 26 JAN 2010. Daniel Evans.
There is a very large roost just east of the Indiana University campus in Bloomington Indiana. The size has been growing for several days/weeks now, but currently every branch of every tree in the area is covered. There are an enormous amount of birds. Devon Whikehart.
1/22/2010: I have been reading your web site about large groups (murders) of crows roosting together. I wanted to report thousands and thousands of them roosting in the tree branches in Loring Park, near downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. Unfortunately, the birds also roost on the roof tops and walls, leaving large white spots everywhere. Nancy Johnson.
1/16/2010: Every evening at just about dusk, there can be seen thousands of crows preparing to roost for the evening along Hwy 394 and Hwy 94 interchange in Minneapolis, MN USA. These birds play and swoop as they fill the trees that line a small area of wetland along the freeway. Approximately the last 4 weeks this has been noticed and everyday since there appears to be hundreds more joining the ranks. Truly an exciting scene to witness whether you are a bird watcher or not, the black cloud that fills the area is so very interesting to watch as it ribbons round and round before choosing a branch to perch on for the evening. Patricia Youker.
January 10-13, 2009: Lindsey, Alabama. Very rural area, adjacent to a swamp where there is a large, well established buzzard roost.
1/9/08: About 15 miles south of Tucson, Arizona.
Jan 6, 2010: Oceanside, California. Flying north over Oceanside Boulevard towards Camp Pendeleton.
Dec 11, 2008: Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California. The crows begin arriving about 4:30 from all directions. Over the next 20ish minutes, they arrive in the thousands. Their cawing is thunderous. They're in every tree, parking lot and field. Just a black blanket. They stay on the ground for 5-8 minutes, then they all fly off in the same direction. It's an amazing sight. I've heard people guess their numbers to be anywhere from 2,000-10,000.
January 17, 2009: Santa Clara, California. Residential area; Planned "condominium community", right off a main road (El Camino Real).
11/19/99: Los Angeles, California. The Village Green in Baldwin Hills section of Los Angeles off Rodeo and between La Cienaga and La Brea.
11-28-07: San Diego (Rancho Bernardo). I have observed groups headed toward a Eucalyptus grove each night for about five years. In October the grove burned in the Witchcreek fire in San Diego yet within a week the crows were returning to approximately the same area.
December, 15 2008: San Diego, California Sorrento Valley area. In recent weeks, literally hundreds of crows descend on the area near my office at about the same time every day. I would not be surprised if there were over 1,000. They fly in circles calling each other and land in trees and on the roof tops of surrounding buildings. I have never seen anything like it.
9/26/07: Mountain View, California.
Dec, 2007: Danbury, Connecticut. Tree-lined neighborhood streets near city-center.
1/7/2010: Hartford, Connecticut. In Keney park near Vine Street. Also in Bushnell Park and the area around the State Capitol.
11/17/99: Norwalk, Connecticut. A hill to the East of the Norwalk Hospital. A large roost sleeps in trees throughout the hill.
1/18/2010: Norwich, Connecticut. In the wooded area between the eastern extension of Maplewood Cemetery and the Norwich Country Club, bounded by Route 395 to the West, Salem Turnpike/West Main Street to the North, New London Turnpike to the East, and Fitch Hill Road to the south. The roost has changed location numerous times in the past decade, but it generally is within a mile of this location. 41.504721, -72.109709. (MJW)
Norwalk, Connecticut: October, November, December, January, February, 1999, 2000, 2001. A crow roost on the Route 7 extension, off of exit 15 off interstate 95. Crows will come every night to roost on the trees next to the highway.
Jan 1, 2009: West Haven, Connecticut. Right along interstate 95 exit 43 in West Haven Ct. Crows by the thousands have been roosting there at dusk in the fall and winter months for a few years now.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:
1/24/2001: We have quite a roost occurring near Washington, DC on the Rockville, Bethesda border.
February 9, 2008: Boise, Idaho Near the mall here in Boise. Started on January 29th with a few hundred crows roosting, and so far, as of yesterday (February 8th), there are now thousands of them.
Knox College. Every year I've been here crows have been roosting in the trees around our campus throughout winter and spring. I'd estimate that several thousand roost in the trees every night for several months. The city installed a device that plays (extremely loudly) the call of what I believe to be great horned owls, about every 15 minutes. This worked for about one or two weeks before they caught on and disregarded the noise. Nothing the city has done has been able to drive them away.11/29/08: Normal Illinois, Illinois State University.
1/31/01: Indianapolis, Indiana.
Feb 25, 2008: The vicinity of Coal Run Village and Pikeville, Kentucky. The area they gather is really a hollow of large pines and is surrounded by strip malls and lots of fast food areas and residential homes. The Big Sandy River, though not large, is nearby, and US 23 north and south traffic runs right through the area.
Oct 19, 2008: Houlton Maine. In the woods near the hospital.
03/2009: Portland, Maine. Back bay off of Portland Harbor.
Mar 8, 2002: Portland, Maine. On West End of Portland's "intown", residential neighborhood with a couple of hospitals, etc. Lots of historical buildings and small to mid-size apartment buildings (no high-rises). Lots of trees sprinkled about, some restaurants and small grocery stores, close to waterfront.
12/30/09: Worcester, Massachusetts. Near RTE 9 across from Webster Square Plaza and also on Park Avenue about 1 mile north which just may be a staging area for the Webster Square roosting area.
12/30/09: Right along RTE 291 East in Springfield, Massachusetts About 1 mile East of Rte 91.
01/20/09: Framingham Massachusetts. Small wetlands, with a brook and a pond nearby
Dec 23, 2008: Lansing, Michigan. Approximately 4 miles west and 1 mile south of Michigan State University. In the tree tops of the parking lots of Community Mental Health, the Department of Human Services, and the Juvenile Detention Center, on the S / W corner of Jolly and Cedar Road.
12/8/09: Minneapolis, Minnesota. Loring Park in Minneapolis MN.
Every evening at just about dusk, thousands of crows preparing to roost for the evening along Hwy 394 and Hwy 94 interchange in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
November 2007: Wildwood Missouri. Near a reservation area. Heavily wooded with middle-age trees, surrounded by suburbs.
Jan 15, 2009: Manchester, New Hampshire. The west side of Manchester, NH near the Amoskeag traffic circle.
Oct - Dec, 2008: Lebanon, New Hampshire. In the area encompassed by Route 120, Old Etna Rd & Ivy Place Lat Lon of the exact tree line: 43.660706 -72.247787 (paste into google maps).
1/25/07: Lebanon, New Hampshire. Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. “At approximately 8:30pm tonight while leaving work, the shuttle bus driver told me that there were hundreds of crows in the employee parking lot. I was confused by this. After all, it was nighttime. I asked him if they were alive, and he said, "Oh yes!". He dropped me off at my car, and I saw it for myself and couldn't believe it. The crows peppered the pavement. I had to practically drive at a snail's pace to get out of the parking lot. They seemed to be challenging me to a game of chicken!”
1/11/00: Town of Wallkill, Orange County, New York. Caldor parkng lot between rte. 211 and rte.96
Feb 13, 2009: Malone, New York, .just south of the Canadian Border, and about an hour from Montreal.
February 20, 2009: White Plains, New York. Westchester County Center, located on the outskirts of the city, directly on a busy parkway. There are a lot of trees, a large parking lot and is a tourist location. This is the site of a large roost. It was impossible to count the number of crows. The sky was full of them flying and seeming to be playing in the sky. Thousands more were perched in nearby trees. And still thousands more were blanketed across a nearby lawn between the north and south bound lanes of the Bronx River Parkway.
12/8/08: Utica, New York. “The roost of crows (have heard on the news the number 50,000, but can't be sure. The group is enormous.) settles in Utica, New York in the winter months. They travel to the hills surrounding the local cemeteries at dusk, and also seem to favor large trees near local businesses, where I think it might be warmer and where there might be more food, such as near McDonalds”.
February 24, 2001: Nanuet, New York Rockland County. St. Anthony's Church, including church, school, and graveyard, seperated from houses by large stands of trees. Located off very busy Route 59.
Oct 25, 2000: West Nyack Road, Nanuet, New York
Jan 28, 2003: Auburn, New York. The very large roost in this city has received very wide publicity for the ill considered attempts of the local government and local non-sportsmen to move the roost location by killing as many of the crows as possible.
7/10/09: Mid-Hudson FDR bridge in Poughkeepsie, NY. The main roosting tree seems to be the tree nearest the Hudson River on the East side of the bridge, but I haven't yet found how to approach it except looking to the left as you go West across the bridge.
11/18/09: Youngstown, Ohio. The roosting site is around interstate 680 and Midlothian Blvd.
12/02/07: Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio. South Side of Youngstown, in the area between Midlothian Blvd, South Avenue, and I-680 and Mathews Road for the past few years, but it seems particularly large this year. Many tall trees with open space between line I-680. Lake Park Cemetary is also in that area. There are thousands of crows this year.
November 25, 2007: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
January, 2008: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. St. Joseph's House is a shelter in a residential area with a beautiful spacious backyard
December 2008: Burlington, Vermont. five miles east of Lake Champlain
12/29/2008: Alexandria, Virginia. Hundreds and thousands of crows flying from the Southeast to the Northwest across the soccer field behind Hammond Middle School
12/18/09: Renton, Washington. In the Green River Valley, which stretches south from Elliott Bay.
3/9/2007: Seattle, Washington. North end of lake Washington
12/2/09: Downtown Bothell, Washington.
BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA:
Vancouver, British Columbia, has a huge roost. The roost seems to be centered around the area of Boundary and Grandview, a mixed industrial/residential zone with a large park and some undeveloped industrial land with trees.
2/12/08: Vancouver/Burnaby B.C. One of the most renowned crow roosts is located in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, which is dotted with parks and small wooded areas. These are presumably Northwestern crows.
NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA
Feb 8, 2009: Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada. Mt. William area. “I don’t know if anyone from this area ever did a head count but I have often stop to watch as they gathered in their roost area and made a guest-a-mate of over 70,000 and it could be twice that many. Their roost is on a hill that can only be seen from 2 roads but it would be nothing to see 150 to 200 crows per tree and the hill is covered by hundreds of large trees and at twilight they are always moving and then it’s too dark to count by the time they settle for the night.”
January 2009: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Urban area of the City of Halifax. “I believe the roost to be in the general area of Mount St. Vincent University on the shores of Bedford Basin, though I have not confirmed this.”
12/21/07: Dec to Mar , past 3 years. Annapolis , Kings Counties , Nova Scotia, vicinity of Canadian Air force Base Greenwood
FOOD AND FEEDING HABITS
Crows are remarkably adaptable birds that will feed on a wide variety of foods, both natural and manmade, although some foods are favored over others and individual crows may have individual preferences. Some of the foods they have been observed to eat are as follows.
All of the following are listed in various publications quoted in "The Life Histories of North American Jays, crows, and Titmice", Brent 1946: Insects (primarily beetles and their larvae and grasshoppers, locusts and crickets), spiders, millipeds, crustaceans, snails, reptiles, amphibians, wild birds and their eggs, poultry and their eggs, small mammals and carrion,May beetles, wireworms, caterpillars, grubs, cutworms, earthworms, clams, scallops, mussels, sea urchins, dead fish, marine invertebrates, dead seal, dead trout, , garbage, road kills (including dogs, cats, chickens, opossums, pigs and skunks) snakes, slaughter house waste, corn, sorghums, wheat, apples, almonds, beans, peas, figs, grapes, cherries, various wild fruits (including sumach, poison-ivy, poison-oak, bayberry, dogwood, sour gum, wild cherries, wild grapes, Virginia creeper, and pokeberry), meadow mice, star-nosed moles, short-tailed shrews, cranberry, juniper berries, smilax winterberry, nightshade berries, barley, corn, buckwheat, pumpkin or squash seeds.
More recently, urban crows will enjoy feeding at garbage dumps, dumpsters at fast food restaurants, picnic areas, and any place where human food waste is available. I have personally observed a crow flying by overhead with an entire slice of pizza in its beak. (MJW)
Crows are most comfortable feeding on the ground and generally, if you want to attract them, all you have to do is scatter food around in an open location. It’s helpful if it is highly visible food that crows will recognize, and the simplest and most easily obtainable item is peanuts in the shell. If you scatter these around, if there are crows in the neighborhood, sooner or later they will arrive to feed on them.
The most likely scenario is, that before crows show up, blue jays (or other local jays) will discover the peanuts and will quickly carry off them off. Jays are much less cautions than crows and will zoom in to snatch up food long before crows make their appearance known. You may have to throw out peanuts for a few days before the crows are attracted by all the jay activity, check out the area for hidden hazards, and finally, carefully approach the food supply. Once they have decided the area is safe, you should have regular visits from crows whenever you put out food.
A regular schedule of feeding helps. Crows seem to most actively feed early in the morning and then again in the afternoon, with a kind of casual foraging in between. The other thing to note is that crows love water. They need to drink a lot and they love dunking food in shallow water and bathing in it in good weather. If you locate a birdbath near your feeding station, you are likely to see a lot more crow (and other bird) activity, particularly if there is no other water source in the immediate vicinity.
There a few things you will soon notice once you begin feeding crows. One is that they can eat an amazing amount of food and, what they can’t eat, they will carry off and cache (hide). Its best if you set a limit on how much you are going to feed the crows each day and stick to it…which, of course, you won’t. The next thing you’ll notice is that no matter what you choose to feed the crows,
something else will come along to join in the feast. Blue jays will rob you blind of peanuts and other seeds. Squirrels will join in the party. Cats will show up if you put out kibbled cat or dog food, which is one of the best and cheapest of crow foods. And small birds of all sorts will also get in the act.
Although it’s not their first choice, crows will take food from a raised, open platform. I’ve found that a thin, smooth, round metal pole will generally frustrate squirrels and cats, particularly if you grease the pole!
Currently I am using a 13 inch round feeding tray made by “Droll Yankee”, mounted about six feet off the ground. I have one of those old style concrete birdbaths set just a few feet away. I’ve found that its wise to have a very heavy saucer part on the bath, because cats will like to jump up on it for a drink and fat urban kitties can easily upset light ceramic baths.
It’s particularly important to keep your birdbath ice free in winter, particularly in long cold dry spells without snow on the ground. There are birdbath heaters that you can buy or you can defrost the bath in the morning with a watering can filled with hot water. If you keep a consistent supply of water available throughout the winter, the birds will thank you with their presence.
As for what you should feed crows, that’s the easiest part of the whole business. As I mentioned, kibbled cat or dog food (pea sized chunks) is cheap and provides complete nutrition for the omnivorous crows. Meat scraps are always a hit as is cheese and egg yolk.
Sunflower seeds, peanuts, in or out of the shell, and just about anything that a teenage boy would love. Unless you provide so much food that the crows don’t ever have to forage for themselves, you really don’t have to worry about ruining their diet.
Oh, and some folks will call the crows in one way or another, a crow call or whistle or bell or whatever, when they feed them. The crows generally become quickly accustomed to the feeding signal and quickly appear when they are called.
In the spring, however, when the crows are laying their eggs and have young in the nest, you might want to be more particular about providing nutritious foods, particularly egg yolk and dog or cat food, to help ensure healthy fledglings.
In early May 2000, I personally observed a crow flying overhead carrying a garter snake that was about a foot long in its beak.
A resident of an assisted living facility reported (May 2000) that the crows were eating all the fish out of their pond. Exactly how they did their fishing was not reported.