17 January 2015
I have talked about, in previous posts, the phenomenon of the huge roosts of American Crow Corvus brachyrynchos in downtown Waterloo. It really is one of the great spectacles of nature - and I have seen many around the world.
This afternoon, as the sun was sinking in the western sky, Miriam and I decided to go and immerse ourselves in the event.
|Setting sun from Seagram Drive|
Most of the crows roost in Waterloo Park, but a good initial vantage point to see them start to flood the downtown area is Seagram Drive, essentially a right of way to the University of Waterloo. We parked in a student parking lot and started to watch the sky as the first groups of crows arrived.
It really is an amazing sight as the numbers swell and the sound of so many crows cawing is an atmospheric experience all of its own. We were quite awestruck as the passage of birds across the sky swelled with every minute.
A skein of Canada Geese Branta canadensis proved no less inspirational as they winged their way across the waning daylight of a late January afternoon.
We then moved on to Waterloo Park, mere wing flaps away as a crow flies, where the birds were settling in for the night in earnest. Wave after wave of birds moved and descended onto the trees. Certain trees filled first before any birds occupied other trees, leaving us to wonder whether those trees had advantages perhaps not readily apparent to us.
The noise of so many birds was at once both ear splitting and captivating. Miriam and I were both enthralled by it, and from time to time the birds would lift from the trees in unison, all cawing at high decibel, only to alight again as though nothing had happened. What cue caused them to act in such a manner remains unknown to us.
As the sun sank lower and lower towards the horizon, the palette of colours shifted and changed with many an interesting sky showing for only the briefest of moments.
It was an etheral experience which neither one of us will soon forget and we are determined to repeat it.
The common name for an assemblage of crows is a murder; in our household, with no apology to the goldfinches, it will henceforth be called a charm.