Photo credit to Dave Lewis
Mansfield is home to one of Ohio’s largest American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos winter roost. During the recent Christmas Bird Count the day began and ended with the flight of American Crows.
Winging in for winter night roosts, the early evening sky plays backdrop to an estimated 16,000 of these Corvids, having staged in outlying fields to return to the city in groups of tens and twentys. And as awesome as that may be, it can’t compare to the sounds of the gathering once it reaches critical mass. Several times I have attempted to film a roost, but the dark birds against dark sky leave much to be desired by the way of photo-journalism. Sunday I was able to capture one small section of the roost, about 200 of the earliest crows to start gathering. You can see it here on YouTube. Once the crows settle in for the night, their sounds become less crow–like “caws” and more dove-like “coos”, a haunting euphonious sound of gentle encouragement through the cold, dark nights.
Crows are highly intelligent beings with fascinating life histories. There are many urban legends and proof of their ability to recognize individual researchers, avoid farmers with shotguns, and my favorite: the case of the exploding toads in Germany.