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Counting Crows

Counting the American Crows, Corvus brachyrhynchos, which converge between Wheeling Island and Bridgeport, OH has been a Post-Christmas Bird Count tradition for over two decades.  The tradition began when Carl Slater and Greg Eddy, Brooks Bird Club members, decided it would be an interesting challenge to try to quantify this impressive phenomenon. The two birders attempted almost every counting technique imaginable throughout the years; from counting individual birds per tree and estimating the population size multiplying by the number of trees, to estimating the number of crows arriving per minute. Getting a precise count of the crows proved nearly impossible. 

More recently Ryan Tomazin, a Junior Nature Camp alumnus and Brooks Bird Club member, has joined the effort. This year he recorded HD videos of the thousands of crows flying into the roost, and counted the individuals while playing the videos back in slow motion. While he was not able to get a precise count, this year’s estimate places about forty thousand crows in Bridgeport on December 17, slightly less than last year. ~Jacob Francis, Director of Environmental Education at the Schrader Center

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