Monday, January 27, 2014


American Crows are gregarious, especially during the fall and winter months. They can roost in forest borders where they likely find the best conditions for their nightly rest. The North Creek forest patch seems to be a favorite spot for this population of crows.

It has been 3-4 years now and thousands of crows are using the campus area. In 2008 they were using a clump of trees surrounding a parking lot in Kenmore (we observed this population for a lab in a Conservation Biology class I was TAing at that time) and it seems that they moved to UW Bothell from there. Why this spot? According to John Marzluff this forest area seems to be safe spot, mainly from predators.  UW and UWB researchers are trying to find more details to answer  this question and many others regarding this roosting site and its effects on this wetland habitat.  A student will be posting more on this soon.

 The arrival of crows to campus is an amazing show that starts at approximately 4:40pm (Winter Jan 2014) . The arrival time is slightly changing to a later time due to the increased length of daylight hours (we are documenting this right now, a student should post later about this too).  You can see crows arriving from all directions and congregating on the building's roofs and on trees surrounding them, then they move to the forest patch by the wetland.  It is a fantastic show that I highly recommend to observe and I am sure you will enjoy.

This video is from 15 Jan at around 5:40-5:50pm  (I took it from the upper level parking garage in UW_Bothell campus). Students took data on arrival time, direction of arrival and behavioral activity. They should be reporting on that soon too. Many students commented on the magical moment of seeing this massive amount of crows during a full moon night. I completely agree.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Welcome to our All things…crows page!

I did not have any knowledge  (and to be honest any appreciation) about crows and ravens before I moved to the USA (they do not occur in Peru, my native country). Due to my huge interest on birds & animal behavior, and the influence of one of my professors during graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle (Dr. John Marzluff)….I could not avoid getting interested in them.
Now? I am fascinated by all corvids and it is becoming a little bit of an obsession. I know John will be smiling with satisfaction if he reads this.

I work at UW-Bothell and, in case you don't know during the fall and winter, thousands and I really mean thousands of American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) come to roost in the North Creek wetland in our campus.
American Crows arrived by the thousands  in UW-Bothell 

I was asked by Leslie Ashbaugh, the Director of the CUSP (Center for University Studies and Programs) at UW-Bothell, to teach a class about crows. She is the main instigator of this class and I am so thankful for it, as I think I have never enjoyed teaching a class on campus as much as this.

My students and I are learning so much about crows and other corvids. Not only about their natural history, but also other aspects related to the interactions between them and humans. This has become a fantastic journey that I am sharing with 48 undergrads at UW-Bothell this Winter of 2014.

Thus, we all want to share with others what we are learning in this class. Follow us as we share our adventures learning all about crows!

 Ursula Valdez, PhD (Instructor)