Watching a Prothonotary Warbler flying around me in low, repeated zig-zags over
open ground on 1 December wasn't the most unusual thing I saw this morning at
the Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank, Suffolk County, Long Island.
Pat had seen a couple of Common Ravens before I arrived and wanted me to see
them. "There's a raven," she said, "with those crows." Raising our binoculars,
we came to the same shocking realization simultaneously: "They're ALL ravens!"
A flock of more than 30 Common Ravens rose above the treeline to the south of
property; I counted 23 at one point, and Pat counted 30 at another, but there
were clearly more based on the way that portions of the flock dipped in and out
of sight. One of my photos shows at least 21 in the frame. The group gradually
dispersed westward and southward, but ten or more were still visible at times
over the next hour or so, including when Derek Rogers stopped by to see if I
Prior to this I wasn't aware that Common Ravens occurred in flocks larger than
a family group, even in places where they are common (except maybe along salmon
runs in Alaska), and I would have thought that 30 was about right for the total
population on all of Long Island.
Perhaps there is an overnight roost there or nearby, to be worked out.
The statuses of Long Island Corvus have changed beyond recognition. Whereas we
used to have Twa Corbies, with brachrhynchos vastly outnumbering ossifragus,
now there are Trois--and nowadays a count of 30 American Crows would be quite
notable anywhere on western LI.
NYSbirds-L List Info:
Please submit your observations to eBird: