It's a New Day

December 2019

Vol. 47, No. 6

Lawrence Winter Crow Roost Becomes Catalyst for Artistic Expression, Community Outreach, and Citizen Science

Craig B. Gibson


Crows converging in flight into the overnight communal roost, by the New Balance building along the Merrimack River in Lawrence, MA, fifteen minutes after sunset. (Oct 8, 2019). All photographs by the author.

It's a phenomenon that rivals a work of art: the winter crow roost in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Night after night thousands of crows fill the sky, seeking a resting place in the overnight communal roost. The Merrimack River, massive red-brick mill buildings, open parking lots, apartment building rooftop edges, utility poles, and wires form the background for the birds' nocturnal activities.

On a Sunday night in January 2019, the crows were far from alone. Members and friends of the Massachusetts Audubon Society had just been to visit the Essex Art Center, where they'd seen photography, videography, and art galleries celebrating the crows. Then they traveled a short distance to an industrial park on the west side of the Bashara Boathouse adjacent to the Merrimack River. Everyone was bundled up in jackets and hats, but the winter chill was soon forgotten as the vast number of crows circling overhead dazzled this group of experienced birders.

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