Observation Logs, New York, U.S.A. The American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos.

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Crows at a gravel pit staging area

New York Crow Observation Logs

Updated: September 18, 2001

This section includes reports of various observers from the State of New York.

East Greenbush, New York, USA: July 10, 2001

Location_Description: Suburban townhouse development adjacent to rural area

Behavior: Two crows heard in a remarkably controlled call and respond song

Comments: The note, rhythm and persistance was so striking and constant that it caught my attention. One crow called 2 staccato notes, repeated in four sets; the other responded, in exact rhythm, with three sets of 2 staccato notes, one-half note higher. This call and respond continued without a break or error, for about 20 minutes. I started to whistle it and it stopped. (Betsy Thompson)

Perinton, New York: May 29-31, 2001

Location_Description: Deck and Patio Glass Door

Behavior: Since monday a single crow has been "trying to invade my house" through the deck's sliding glass door. Every morning around 6 am - don't know when he or she starts but that's when I waken, he beats itself against the glass; sometimes just with the beak, sometimes repeatedly flying into the glass, he pauses then he caahs four times. He does this non-stop until I've had enough and I walk toward him. When he sees me, he flys to the nearest tree and waits around for awhile and caahs. The first time this was observed the crow was in the process of emptying the contents of a deceased poppy plant planter. It looked as though he was banging his beak against the glass to clean the dirt off his beak. However, even after I removed the planter or what was left of it, he was there the next morning pecking; like a wood pecker does, at the glass with his beak. On 05/31/01, he or she has repeated this event three times.

Comments: Should I let him in? (Skip Danesi)

>Nanuet, New York, Rockland County: February 24, 2001

Location_Description: St. Anthony's Church, including church, school, and graveyard, seperated from houses by large stands of trees. Located off very busy Route 59.

Behavior: 5:00 PM--I drove to crow roost in churchyard, noticing crows flying in from south, east and west. After parking in lot, I stepped out of my car and was greeted by a tremendous din. I heard two vocalizations which I have never heard before. One was a dry rattle, like the sound of a percussion instrument with small dry beans inside. It lasted about four seconds. The other vocalization was a soft "quork" a croaking call not unlike that of a raven. As I walked around the graveyard, I noticed crows perched on gravestones, and standing on freshly dug graves. Two crows were perched close together on a branch, and one repeatedly crow touched the other with its beak. I left at 5:20, and crows were still flying in.

Comments: I would like to go to roost later in the night, to find out if the crows actually roost there, or if they just gather. (Alayna Baldanza)

Colonie, Albany County, New York, U.S.A.: January 23, 2001

I have been observing crows in my backyard and the woods behind my house for years now, and I am totally fascinated by the intelligence of these birds. Crows have many distinct sounds for every situation, such as when a predator is approaching, but even the sounds or calls differ for each type of predator. For instance, they emit one type of call when a hawk is nearing, and another one when a cat approaches. I also admire the courage crows display when chasing a hawk away from their territory, sometimes even risking their own lives by flying under the talons of the bird of prey. (Cecilia Cerra)

Nanuet, New York: October 20, 2000

Location_Description: There are several staging areas for roost located along West Nyack Road. I have yet to determine the exact roost location. Hundreds of crows fill the trees adjacent to road. They gather on the premises of International Paper, a company with plenty of open space and wooded areas. Behavior: Before dusk (5:20-6:00 PM) crows eat berries from trees, tumble and somersault in the air, socialize, and fly from tree to tree. (Alayna Baldanza)

Hudson Highlands Park, Garrison, New York: February 26, 2000

Location_Description: Hudson Highlands Park is a 1200 acre, mostly wooded area 60 miles north of New York City, about a mile from the Hudson River.

Behavior: I was running in the woods and noticed a group of 10-12 crows perched in a tree off to the side of the trail. They saw me and took off. I started cawing to them (sometimes I can't help myself) and they suddenly circled around and flew toward me. I looked up and the whole group was circling, around and around, directly over my head, like a crow merry-go-round, craning their necks to see what I was up to. After a few moments, they took off.

Comments: I mentioned this to a couple of my rehabber friends and they said they'd never heard of crows doing this. Perhaps they were imitating migrating hawks in a "kettle" - or maybe it was just the best way to get a look at the wierd human trying to speak crow. Good luck in your study! (Suzie Gilbert)

Town of Wallkill, Orange County, New York: 1/11/00

Location_Description: Caldor parkng lot between rte. 211 and rte.96

There is a roost of possibly more than 10,000 crows in the trees bordering the southeast corner of the Caldor parking lot. It has been there at least a couple of months. The lot is well lit so it is easy to see the birds and easy for the birds to see predators.

The staging areas seem to shift continually. The largest staging area is currently across Carpenter Ave. (rte. 96) in the Orange County Fairgrounds. If you stand in the upper parking lot at dusk, thousands of crows stream over your head into the roost. While the roost is forming, crows within the roost fly out and change position frequently. Sometimes thousands of birds will leave the roost, fly back to the fairgrounds, then return to the roost. So many birds fly back and forth that there are near collisions. Once the roost is almost fully formed, the crows on the upper outside of the roost fly into the center trees. It takes a long time for the roost to settle for the night, possibly because of the lights. Since they can see to fly, they can keep changing their positions within the roost until after dark. While the roost is forming, the sound of calling crows is very loud. Once they have settled for the night, they are silent.

This roost may move around. I don't think it was here last year. In previous years, I have seen rivers of crows streaming toward Dolsontwn Rd. on the other side of Middletown. There were thousands of crows in the trees on the edge of a cornfield. They are not there now. (Kelly Sheridan)

Orange County, New York, USA: 12/19/99

Location_Description: Goshen Historic Track, a harness horse training center, located in Goshen NY, behind the Hall of Fame of the trotter. A half mile race track, grassy infield, some mature trees, grandstand, located in town.

Behavior: I see two different "famillies" of crows in the track area. One pair had four offspring, the other three, this season. They mostly graise the grassy infield but they supplument their diet by raiding the next door dumpsters. It seems that gourmet garbage from our neiboring restaurant is fine eats! They methodically pick at the garbage in search of bones, etc. which they can be seen flying off with, to the other side of the track, to snack on as they please. Sometimes you can catch them trying to stuff bones into creavaces for later use.

Comments: This seems to be a learned behavior. The crows only go to the dumpster when it is overflowing, and the lids can't be shut. You won't see a single crow at the dumpster unless they can access the resaurant goodies inside. But, when they can, they fight off the gulls and chase away the cats in a very agressive manner.

(This section will be added to on a continuing basis. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed. Other parts of the site are also under construction. This site will be continually expanding as the Project grows.)

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