Yesterday, February 7, 2021, before the Super Bowl, Ed and I took the binoculars and walked to watch sunset at Bird Island. The Indian River Lagoon on the east side of Sewall’s Point is always spectacular at this time of day. Once we took a seat, we were amazed to see an almost endless flock of cawing fish crows making their way to roost somewhere south of Bird Island, maybe in the area of St Lucie Inlet State Park. We could see the shifting shape flying from the horizon miles away. They appeared like little mosquitoes approaching from the distance! There were thousands and thousands of fish crows!
Although I was born in 1964, and grew up in Sewall’s Point and Stuart, the first time I noticed the massive flocks was along the St Lucie River in North River Shores back in the late 90s. I would watch with amazement for hours as they steadily made their way across the sky. “Where are they going?” I thought. “Where do they come from?” Although Fish Crows are listed as being at risk due to Climate Change, it certainly seems that their numbers are increasing.
I include a couple of videos and encourage comments on what readers may know of this incredible phenomenon. This survivor of a bird!
Video 1: Thousands of fish crows fly over east Sewall’s Point near Bird Island. Video 2. Same but even better view hundreds more in the near distance. Incredible!
Fish Crows: John J. Audubon
16 thoughts on “Thousands of Flying Fish Crows!”
That’s a lot of fish crows! I wonder how far some of them travel to the communal roost each night. Crows and ravens are noted for roosting en masse during their non-breeding seasons. Bernd Heinrich, in his book Ravens in Winter, suggests that this helps the birds to socialize, select mates, and find good places to forage. I’ve seen them streaming past Sandsprit Park and wonder what the phenomenon looks like from Twin Rivers Park. Great pictures, thanks for posting!
Thank you Pete. You obviously know a lot about these incredible flyers. Once one had died in Sewall’s Point. It appeared it got electrocuted on the power line. I got some big leaves and picked it to move it under a tree so it was not right at the intersection of the road. Hundreds of crows were above in the trees and on the telephone poles. When I moved their fried about fifty came down to see where I moved it-cawing loudly the entire time. Ed was there too and we both we absolutely amazed. They are very connected socially and I never forget this experience. Thank you for your your insights and comments. I will have to check out Twin Rivers Park!
That’s a great story! They are remarkably intelligent beings.
🙂 Hope to see you soon Pete!
I love that spot any time of day but especially in the evening (and I was there yesterday a little before you were, on bikes with my husband!) The Fish Crows have been hanging around those docks, and sometimes landing for a little while, at that time of day. I think they meet up there and then head south and make the crossing to the islands or the St Lucie Inlet park where they roost at night. When they are on the final leg of their trip, as the last light slips away, they are completely silent – so uncharacteristic of crows! I think this is so they don’t lead possible predators to their night roost. In the morning at first light they fly north, or northwest over my house on Hillcrest Dr, by the hundreds (thousands?) and they are noisy again. In the daytime, I notice smaller groups of fish crows in Stuart and Jensen Beach, especially at intersections or along certain stretches of road, perched on wires. They go where people are and keep an eye on us because we are messy and drop things they can eat, or run over things they can then eat. In spring they start pairing off and nesting and I don’t see big flocks anymore, just pairs defending their territories throughout Sewall’s Point.
I have also seen them feeding in medium to large flocks on ripe berries on a variety of trees and shrubs.
I will keep my eyes peeled! Thanks for this. I have some berries around my house. Maybe they will visit!
So interesting! I love this description and all you observe. The are so smart and seem to thrive due to us sometimes messy and careless humans. Thank you for your visual.
I really enjoyed reading the Audubon link, thank you. It is quite special to see any animal species in large numbers like this.
Thank you. So glad you liked. Audubon has incredible links and their photos are incredible!
It’s mating season. Just enjoy nature and understand it happens every year.
I did not think about that. A good motivator!!!! And here I thought it was the weather! Thanks so much.
Looks just like when the Tree Swallows come through my yard. At least the Tree Swallows eat insects as they fly by and circle the area. The fish crows just remind me of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’. LOL
Hi Diane! I’d love to see the swallows. Sometimes the Purple Martins are here but only a few. I too thought about Alfred H.’s movie! That stays in one’s head forever! Hope all is well. I so admire all you are doing in St Lucie County by inspiring people with your yard!!!
My brother and I took our dogs out and went to one of the islands just to the east of Bird Island yesterday right about the same time. The sunset coming in on the water was, as always, so relaxing and beautiful although there weren’t lots of colors.
Hi LauraKay! Sorry we missed seeing you. Yes it was a silvery evening not a colorful one! I am enjoying your designed jewelry. People especially complement my green sea glass piece! All the best to you and family.