The large black birds seem to be taking over parts of Springfield at dawn and dusk.
We see them all year round, usually from a distance… the American crow. Large and noisy, they live throughout the region, usually foraging, flying and generally living alone.
But this time of year they become social… a lot more social. “They’ll stage right along the Connecticut River,” said Seth Kellogg, past president and current member of the Allen Bird Club of Springfield. “I counted maybe 500 or a 1000 birds just staging in that area right there. They’ll come from Connecticut, Wilbraham, Ludlow, They’ll come from Chicopee. From every direction.”
In they fly, each winter at dusk – all heading to the same destination - Springfield.
Odd perhaps… thousands of wild animals gathering in so urban a place, or maybe not.
Crows are intelligent and they’ve learned the city is a good host.
“They’ve discovered that their roosts are free from predators that climb trees like weasels or raccoons, whatever will climb trees in the countryside but in Springfield they’re not there,” said Kellog.
But if you happen to live or work near these crow conventions, it can present some challenges especially if you park your car outside
At Laser Auto Wash in Chicopee, attendant Eric Scheer has noticed a lot more cars lately needing to be cleaned because of birds. “A lot more (cars) than usual. It’s pretty cold out. I mean you wouldn’t expect a lot of birds to be around or anything but we’ve been getting quite a bit for such cold weather.”
And that’s the other reason crows gather this time of year, not to target your car, but to cluster together to stay warm.
Kellogg says crows will only be gathering here in Springfield to roost for a few more weeks.
By mid to late March the birds will go back to living alone or in pairs… until next winter.