The winter solstice marks the longest night of the year, we are in the bottom of the gloomy barrel yet in all this darkness we can take heart that the days are getting longer. It is also a full moon, aptly known as the “cold moon” and a quiet time of year for birds. What life there is moves on feathery purposefulness and is often the birds we take for granted during the sunny, songbird-filled summers.
Just before dusk watch for loose lines of crows flying in the same direction. Known as “skeins” these trails of birds are as they appear, the daily commute home to a communal roost. The common crow is a social animal and winter roosts can number anywhere from a dozen to several hundred thousand. Little is understood about what happens in these huge roosts but tracking has shown crows from a dozen miles around traveling the same line each evening to meet at a specific feild, parking lot, or even abandoned building. Crows are faithful to their routes and can be seen each day over the highway on the drive home or from an office vantage point. Find comfort in the black crow flying to roost in the fading light against a grey, pregnant sky; the crow is not alone and flies with purpose.
is an educator, bird watcher, and writer fascinated by the intersections of place, people, nature, and culture. He works for Mass Audubon and lives in the heart of Massachusetts. For questions or comments please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org