As the crows fly (Ottawa)

Roger Clark erogclark at
Fri Feb 1 12:09:10 EST 2002

Hi Ontbirders,

Eve Ticknor's recent note (30 January) about the large numbers of American
crows at Billings Bridge in Ottawa prompts me to add a few details.

We live immediately south of Billings Bridge & have watched during the past
two months as the crows make their way towards the south-west about an hour
before dawn.  It's almost impossible to give an accurate count but I
estimate somewhere between 2,000 & 3,000.  Travelling "as the crow flies"
they will likely end up in the general vicinity of the Trail Road municipal
dump off Moodie Drive.

The crows return, as Eve noted, around 3h.30 in the afternoon & settle in
the same considerable numbers in trees (or buildings) close to Billings
Bridge.  This appears to be a pre-roosting gathering &, as dusk falls, they
mostly move on, possibly to the roosts mentioned as being in the vicinity of
the Ottawa Hospital General Campus.

Last night (31st) was a little different, perhaps because of the
deteriorating weather.  Upwards of 2,000 crows remained in our area (Bavlie
Avenue, south of Billings Bridge & west of Bank Street) & stayed throughout
the night before setting off again to find food this morning.

Incidentally, there is an interesting article by Jeffrey Moore & Paul
Switzer ("Pre-roosting aggregations in the American crow") published in the
Canadian Journal of Zoology (Vol. 76, No. 3, March 1998).

Roger Clark

The park at Billings Bridge is next to the intersection of Riverside Drive
and Bank Street on the south side of the Rideau River.  Riverside can be
accessed from the 417 (head south) or from Hunt Club Road (head north).

The roost area near the hospital campus is between Alta Vista Drive and
Smythe Road, again easily accessed from Riverside Drive.

"Roger Clark" <erogclark at>

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