Langley’s annual crow count could have used a few more volunteers, but watchers still spotted an average of 36,468 birds heading to their winter gathering grounds in South Aldergrove.
Across a few recent nights – with one night cancelled at the last minute due to late-season snow – volunteers with the Langley Field Naturalists, Langley Environment Partners Society (LEPS) and the Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society counted the crows arriving at their winter roost.
In the winter, crows from around Langley, Abbotsford, and south from across the U.S. border come every day to shelter in a large stand of trees together.
They disperse in the mornings to search for food.
In the spring, the large flock disperses for the warm months of the year, and the crows will nest and raise chicks in smaller flocks scattered around the region.
The daily “migrations” can see streams of hundreds of crows gathering from every direction.
Dreves said that without enough volunteers they couldn’t watch for crows coming from the west, but in the past, it’s been about 2,500 from that direction.
The overall number could be higher than the average that the volunteers were counting.
This was the third annual count.
“We need a few more years of data and more volunteers to count,” Dreves told the Langley Advance Times. “One thing we can say with confidence is it is big and noisy!”
She was pleased that the landowners of the crow roost have let it continue to exist and remain healthy for many years.
Dreves noted that a 2019 study by the Ministry of the Environment looked at potential sources of fecal coliform bacteria in nearby Bertrand Creek and found that many of the coliforms in the creek were associated with birds, especially starlings and crows.
Preventing coliforms from wildlife can be done by planting buffers of vegetation along streams, Dreves said. The trees and brush capture more water runoff and take in potential contaminants, and roots take up excess nutrients in the soil. It keeps streams cleaner, she said.
READ ALSO: Crow count hits 52,900 in South Aldergrove
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