Mystical, messy, nuisance or awesome—thousands of crows streaming into a night roost are hard to ignore. A roost is simply a place where birds gather and settle to rest—a few birds or many. Why do they flock together and why sleep in our towns? Avoiding predators and finding food are probably important. But they are also changing the very soil, depositing nitrogen on the ground below!
This website is all about our study of the effects of roosts on soils and soil “biogeochemistry” and of the crows that move soil nutrients from where they eat to where they sleep.
Find out more about crows and crow roost, our latest effects on crow roost “effects” – We need your help to Report a Roost!
Who are “we’? The study is a unique collaboration between ecosystem ecologists Dr. Weixing Zhu and Ben Eisenkop (Binghamton University) and behavioral ecologists Dr. Anne B. Clark (Binghamton University) and Dr. Kevin J. McGowan (Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology). Zhu and doctoral researcher Eisenkop study how nitrogen, an essential nutrient and sometimes pollutant, moves through soils, air and water, particularly in urban areas. Clark and McGowan co-direct a long-term study of behavior and ecology of American crows in the Ithaca, NY area. Together we are investigating how the behavior of an urban animal can change the way nitrogen is distributed and used in the larger ecosystem.
Find out more about
- Crows and their roosts
- Crow droppings, nitrogen and urban “biogeochemistry”
- Our latest “roost results”.
Report a roost—the good, the bad, the ugly!
On this page you can:
- Let us know where a roost is, and what it looks like
- Make a map of it using YardMap, a global Citizen Science Project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Count the crows that are using the roost
- Contribute to scientific knowledge of crows, crow migration and role in our shared ecosystems.
Catch up on roosts in the Blog News Droppings!
Ask and get answers to your questions about crows and their crow roosts in our forum!
Binghamton University behavioral ecologist Anne Clark has spent the past 13 years studying the complex social lives of crows, focusing on cooperative behavior. Her team includes her collaborator, Kevin McGowan of Cornell University, and more than a dozen Binghamton University graduate students.
Follow Anne and her team through a day of capturing, banding, and releasing crows back into the wild as they further their research.
Read about Anne’s studies in the Binghamton University Magazine:
Video by Ryan G. Schultz
“Happy At The Wheel” by The Twin Atlas
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