Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Holy Crow!

I was coming down the hill on my way home from work when I noticed what appeared to be thousands of birds on the ice of the Hudson River. So I drove all the way down to the riverbank with my camera and this is what I saw:

Thousands of crows collect every night in the skies and trees around the river near Albany, but this is the first time I noticed them on the ice:

It would seem to me that this windy, unprotected spot with their feet on the cold ice would be a bad place to rest, but the crows had other ideas. Indeed, it was so cold and the wind so harsh that my ungloved hands were painful within seconds of getting out of the car. Perhaps there was something on the ice for them to eat:

When I studied wildlife biology many years ago, they thought that autumn bird swarms were a population regulating mechanism whereby too dense a population would induce stress and reduce breeding in the following spring. But that was long ago and perhaps there's a new theory now.

Anyway, the crows had accumulated by the thousands on the frozen Hudson River and I could see more crows stretching from the south to the north of downtown Albany:

Here's a close-up of a small part of the flock:

I often see the crows flying and swarming in the evening skies, including from out of my bedroom window, so decided to snap a few pictures of the view from there.

And here is a sample of the view from my bedroom window looking across the road and across the Hudson River toward downtown Albany. There were no swarms of flying crows when I took this picture, but often there are:

And looking out my window toward the north, another view of an industrial part of Albany. Nipper, the giant RCA dog atop a building is visible, but so small in this photo that it appears as only a white blob:

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