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A coalition used volunteer work, municipal staff, effigies, cannons and pyrotechnics to train the crows to roost in places other than shopping centers and neighborhoods.

Migratory crows

Every year, around 20,000 migratory crows from Canada, New England, and upstate New York make their way to Lancaster. They arrive in November and stay through the end of February, creating quite a spectacle in our community.

Focus on non-lethal methods to ensure the well-being of these remarkable birds. People volunteered time and effort to implement strategies that encourage the crows to roost in more suitable locations, minimizing any potential disturbances to our residents.

Migration Patterns: Migratory crows, specifically the American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), undertake annual long-distance migrations. They travel in large groups known as “murders” and can cover vast distances of up to several hundred miles.

Population Size: The American crow is one of the most widespread and abundant bird species in North America. The overall population is estimated to be around 31 million individuals.

Migratory Routes: Migratory crows in North America typically follow specific routes known as flyways. These flyways include the Atlantic Flyway, Mississippi Flyway, Central Flyway, and Pacific Flyway.

Breeding Grounds: Migratory crows breed in various regions across North America, including Canada, Alaska, and the northern parts of the United States. They build nests in trees and often return to the same breeding territories each year.

Wintering Grounds: During the winter months, migratory crows migrate to more southern areas where food is more readily available. They can be found across the United States, including southern states and parts of Mexico.

Communication: Crows are highly social birds known for their complex communication systems. They use a variety of vocalizations, including distinct calls for warning, gathering, and indicating food sources. They can even recognize and respond to individual human faces.

Intelligent Behavior: Crows are renowned for their problem-solving abilities and remarkable intelligence. They can use tools, exhibit advanced problem-solving skills, and show evidence of abstract thinking.

Lifespan: Migratory crows have an average lifespan of around 7 to 8 years in the wild, although some individuals have been known to live up to 15 years or more.

Food Habits: Migratory crows are omnivorous, meaning they consume a wide variety of food. Their diet includes insects, fruits, seeds, small mammals, eggs, carrion, and even human-provided food in urban areas.

Cultural Significance: Crows have been featured in various cultures and mythologies around the world. They are often associated with intelligence, curiosity, and adaptability. In some Native American traditions, crows are considered symbols of transformation and messages from the spirit world.


I saw some

As I walked along the familiar trails of my local park, a sudden cacophony overhead drew my eyes to the sky. It was a cool, crisp morning, and the usual tranquility was being pierced by the raucous calls of what seemed like hundreds of crows. I stopped in my tracks, captivated by the sight of these black avian nomads embarking on their seasonal journey.

The crows were flying in a loose, staggered formation, a dark ribbon undulating against the soft gray canvas of the dawn sky. I estimated there must have been at least three hundred of them, each bird about 17 to 21 inches in length, with their wingspan easily reaching 3 feet. The precision of their flight patterns was mesmerizing; it was as if each crow knew its place within the group’s aerial dance.

I watched, entranced, as the crows moved like a fluid shadow, ebbing and flowing with the invisible currents of the air. Their migration was a natural phenomenon I had read about but never witnessed firsthand. The intelligence and social structure of these birds were something I had always found fascinating, and seeing them in such numbers was a powerful testament to their survival and adaptability.

As the crows passed overhead, I noticed the variation in their calls. Some were deep and guttural, while others were sharp and insistent. I remembered reading that crows have complex communication systems, and I couldn’t help but wonder what messages they were passing along. Were they coordinating their flight, or were these calls part of a more intricate social exchange?

The migration seemed like an ancient ritual, a timeless event that had been occurring long before I stood there observing it and that would continue long after I was gone. I felt a profound sense of connection to the natural world in that moment, a reminder that life, in all its forms, is constantly in motion, each species following its own path to survival.

As the last of the crows disappeared from view, the sky returned to its quiet state, and the world around me seemed to take a deep breath. The experience left me with a sense of awe and a deeper appreciation for these intelligent creatures. I continued on my walk, the echo of the crows’ calls still ringing in my ears, and my heart a little fuller from the unexpected encounter.



Migratory crows, specifically the American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), have distinctive features that make them easily recognizable:

  1. Size: Migratory crows are medium-sized birds, measuring about 18 inches in length. They have a wingspan of around 39 inches.
  2. Plumage: Their feathers are entirely black, giving them a sleek and glossy appearance. The feathers may have a slight iridescent sheen, especially under direct sunlight.
  3. Shape: Migratory crows have a robust and stocky build with a sturdy beak. Their body shape is streamlined, allowing them to fly swiftly and maneuver with agility.
  4. Head and Bill: They have a large, rounded head with a distinctively strong and slightly curved black beak. The beak is well-adapted for their omnivorous diet, enabling them to eat a wide variety of food.
  5. Eyes: Migratory crows have striking dark eyes that are often described as intelligent and piercing. Their keen eyesight helps them spot food from a distance and navigate their surroundings.
  6. Legs and Feet: Their legs and feet are black and relatively long compared to their body size. They use their strong feet and sharp claws for perching, walking, and manipulating objects.
  7. Vocalizations: Migratory crows are known for their range of vocalizations. They can produce a variety of sounds, including loud caws, rattles, clicks, and mimicry of other bird calls.


In a world of feathers and cawing sound, There lived a crow, with wings so profound. With a mischievous glint in its eye, It soared through the sky, oh so high.

This crow was no ordinary bird, It had a sense of humor, quite absurd. It played pranks on squirrels and stole shiny things, Leaving them puzzled with flapping wings.

It perched on a branch, ready to jest, Mocking the pigeons who couldn’t nest. With a caw and a chuckle, it teased them all, Sending feathers flying, causing a squall.

But one day, as it flew with glee, It landed on a scarecrow, quite a sight to see. The scarecrow, it seemed, wasn’t fooled at all, It sprang to life, giving the crow a call.

“Ah, my feathery friend, you’ve met your match, Your pranks won’t work, they’re no longer a catch. I may be stuffed, but I’ve got a surprise, A secret weapon hidden in my guise.”

The crow, taken aback, flapped its wings in surprise, But the scarecrow just laughed, with twinkling eyes. “For every prank you play, I’ll have a trick, To outwit and outsmart, no matter how slick.”

And so, the crow and scarecrow became a pair, Two jesters in a world, a humorous affair. With pranks and laughter, they roamed the land, Bringing joy and mirth, hand in hand.

For in this world, where seriousness prevails, The crow and scarecrow taught us to unveil, The humor in life, the joy it can bring, With laughter as our wings, we can truly sing.

So let’s embrace the spirit of this crow, Let laughter and merriment forever grow. For in the realm of feathers and cawing sound, A funny little crow can turn our world around.


Q: Do they migrate alone or in groups?
A: Crows are social butterflies…well, social crows. They often migrate in large groups called murders. Don’t worry though, the most menacing thing about them is usually their loud cawing.

Q: When do crows migrate?

A: Crows typically migrate in the fall and return in the spring. It’s like they’re trying to maintain an endless summer.

Q: How do they find their way during migration?

A: Despite their lack of smartphones, crows are master navigators. Scientists believe they use a combination of the sun, landmarks, and even the Earth’s magnetic field to guide their way. GPS? Who needs that when you have a built-in compass in your brain!

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