Thursday, January 28, 2021

Crows and Trees #ThursdayTreeLove

One interesting thing about the winter and living in an area with many trees that drop their leaves for the winter is the changing behavior of birds as the winter progresses.

As a beginning birder during this pandemic, I have witnessed behavior I never paid attention to before.  Today's post considers a common bird in the Northeast United States where I live:  the American crow.  

These large black birds may be common throughout most of the United States, but that doesn't make them less interesting.  Their attraction to trees in the winter fascinated me.  I have seen them flocking at sunset, and heard them disbanding near sunrise.

Why do crows flock to trees around sunset?  This newspaper article explains.

Basically, it's a matter of protection, as crows are nearly helpless at night.  The crows gather in large numbers, sometimes in the hundreds, and jockey for nighttime position.  The unfortunate ones who are in the outer parts of the cluster are more vulnerable to night hunting birds such as owls.

One such roost took place in my back yard less than a week ago.  See all those dots?  Those are the crows flying.

You can see a couple of the clusters forming in the lower half of this photo.  I took these pictures from the inside of my house with my old iPhone SE first edition - I didn't want to disturb them.  Unfortunately it doesn't have much of a zoom.

I love the trees for the shelter they give birds - plus food, and places to build their nests.

 Snowy bonus:  for the many who join with Parul's #ThursdayTreeLove who rarely get to see snow - I decided to include an after snow picture from Tuesday's storm (which happily dumped much less snow on us than the original prediction a week ago) showing both evergreen and deciduous trees in perfect harmony.  Call them the guardians of this dead end street.

See you February 11 for more tree loving photos.

Before I leave, I want to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986.  May the brave astronauts who perished that day forever Rest in Peace.  Here is a post I wrote several years ago on the topic.


  1. ...they have been flocking together here too.

  2. Crows are fascinating birds, aren't they? I see them sometimes fly to the very top branch of a tree, stand up there and caw, next thing you know several of them will be cawing at each other. Now Iwonder if they're picking a tree for later.

  3. Trees and birds. These are two of my most favourite things! To quote my husby (who was quoting Hitchcock...) The birds are massing!

  4. I find birds fascinating. Thank you for sharing your photos and insights.

  5. Interesting about the crows. I remember the Challenger vividly. Man, was I in high school 35 years ago? Makes me feel old.

  6. Crows and really all members of the corvid family are such intelligent and interesting creatures. I always find it fascinating the way they begin to flock together here in late fall and through winter. I'm sure there are good reasons for that, known to the crows themselves.

  7. So many crows! And thanks for the bonus snow photo!

  8. Thanks Alana! Yes, the harmony between deciduous and evergreens is wonderful! Trees are home to birds whether in leaf or otherwise. We have a lot of crows here. i do not know if they are a different species from the American Crow.

  9. My husband has a crow phobia. From "The Birds" film.
    Carol C

  10. I'm fascinated by crows (we don't really have them here), so loved your post. Thanks for the snow bonus.

  11. Visiting your blog after a long time, Alana! Crows are so common in India...interesting to hear about the American crow. Thanks for sharing the snow photo.

  12. Interesting post! I've read something about crows being particularly intelligent. But maybe all animals are in their own ways. I imagine you see more wildlife on a dead end street.


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