[CT Birds] A question of Crows

jaybrd49 at aol.com jaybrd49 at aol.com
Thu Jan 7 13:41:51 EST 2016

Hi Tom!

As the co-compiler of the Hartford Christmas Bird Count, I have been estimating the size of this crow roost annually for well over two decades.  The roost attracts crows from throughout the greater Hartford area.  When we "count," we try to station teams that can watch the crows coming in from several directions.  In addition to the birds that come from East Hartford, other birds come from the north and west in good numbers.  We have seen birds in the Farmington Valley flying towards what we presume is that roost in the late afternoon.  Historically, the birds have been in this area along New Park Avenue and along the side of I-84 for several years.  Prior to that they were in downtown Hartford along Asylum Avenue and before that there was a large roost in Bloomfield at the Copaco shopping center.  Rumor has it that there was once a mega-roost adjacent to Bradley Intenational Airport, but that concerns about interference with aircraft caused the Airport Authority to cut down the trees in which they roosted and otherwise harass the birds. I do not know this to be definitely true, but it seems plausible. Supposedly, the roost split with many birds heading north into MA and the others heading south towards Hartford. The estimation if the current roost, which may be the largest in CT (there is another sizeable roost in Waterbury) is 18,500 birds.  Some years there are less, some years more.  You can access past CBC numbers for this information.  Anyone interested in estimating the roost size should plan to show up in the Hartford area about 4 PM and wait for birds to start coming in.  This activity continues until well after sunset. I would certainly be interested in other estimations of the roost size.  Finally, if anyone is curious as to why West Nile Virus did not decimate this crow roost as it did to breeding crows on CT summer counts a few years back, one explanation is that the majority of these crows do not remain here in CT.  When the roost disperses, usually in late February-early March, most of the crows move to our north where West Nile has not been as virulent on the corvid population.

Hope this helps.

Jay Kaplan

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Kenefick via CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
To: ctbirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Wed, Jan 6, 2016 11:56 pm
Subject: [CT Birds] A question of Crows

Over the past few weeks in Hartford I have observed 100's if not 1000's of crows flying north to south around 4pm. They seem to be coming from the direction of E Hartford and fly over the Harford Ins Co buildings in the direction of Waterbury. Does anyone know where they going at night?  It's fascinating to watch!

Tom Kenefick

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