This being the Halloween season and all, it’s only natural to take notice of the fact that the crow has been regarded as a mysterious creature. Crows and Ravens have been depicted in dark situations in both literature and film. Even their call is eerie.
In the last few years the crow population in our area has become overwhelming, particularly during their roosting hours which begin about an hour or more before dusk, and again about an hour before dawn. As I watch the crows fly toward the sunset in droves in the evening, I’ve often wondered where they were going, and why they practice this bewitching routine everyday.
Crows have been congregating in large roosts in the fall and winter for as long as there have been crows. Many bird species congregate in large numbers into a single group to sleep together. Such communal sleeping groups are known as “roosts.”
Crows.net is a website that gathers information about crows, and reports large crow roosts in North America. Dec 11, 2008, Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California reported roost numbers to be anywhere from 2,000-10,000. Birds will begin to fly towards the roost, collecting together into ever larger flocks as they get nearer. These staging areas are in cemeteries or other areas where fairly open areas are surrounded by or interspersed with trees. Birds will fill the surrounding trees, hunt for food on the ground, and engage in general socializing. As dusk approaches, the birds will abandon the staging area and gather in the communal roost. Often every suitable branch on every tree for a considerable distance will have a crow occupying it and there are constant alarms and mass flights and continual interactions of birds both in flight and in the trees. The noise level can be tremendous. As it grows dark the birds settle down and remain quiet until dawn when they disperse again.
There are many superstitions that surround the crow. Many associate the crow with death. I don’t believe in superstitions. The crow is just another one of God’s creatures that has a particularly mysterious social behavior, and a great presence during our Halloween Boo Fests!