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 American Crow

Status in Michigan
Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for American Crow.

Use the links below to view the American Crow reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Summer 2005
View American Crow sightings.
American Crow Archives Reports
Spring 2005
Fall 2004
Spring 2004
Winter 03-04
Fall 2003 15711
Spring 2003 264
Winter 02-03 1218
Fall 2002 713
Summer 2002 231
Spring 2002 622
Winter 01-02 19030
Fall 2001 375
Summer 2001 88
Spring 2001 296
Winter 00-01 6122
Fall 2000 1630
Summer 2000 116
Spring 2000 462
Winter 00-99 368
Fall 1999 128
Spring/Summer 1999 20

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: American Crow

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Corvus brachyrhynchos brachyrhynchos Brehm
Eastern Crow (A.O.U. 1998: American Crow)

Common summer resident.

Winters in variable numbers in the southern 3 tiers of counties.

First listed for Michigan by Fox (1853: 162).

Crows apparently spread into Michigan in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. At Detroit Bela Hubbard (1887 : 299-305) first saw them "in large quantities" in the fall of 1858, and again in "the winters" (meaning possibly November) of 1861, 1862, 1864, and 1865. He also saw them there in spring. Crows were not recorded at Ann Arbor until after 1850 (N. A. Wood, 1941: 18). Gibbs (1885 : 119 ; 1895&: 137) said they were rare in Kalamazoo County as late as 1865, but became common there by 1875; by 1895 they were common, he believed, as far north as Mackinac Island. In the Upper Peninsula, Kneeland (1857 : 235) had already listed them as rare at Portage Lake, Keweenaw County, but common on the Point and in the Ontonagon district, between August, 1856, and June, 1857.

SPRING.-Barrows (1912: 420 ff.) found that the spring migration ex- tended ordinarily from late February to late April or early May.

Lower Peninsula.-In the Toledo-Erie marsh area, L. W. Campbell (1940: 112-13) reported the Crow as abundant in migration and as moving northward usually between February 23 and April 11; on 2 dates early in March he saw concentrations of as many as 5000 birds. John L. George made a 2-hour visit to the Wayne County mainland opposite the southern tip of Grosse lie on March 19, 1939, and again on March 21, 1942; on each occasion he observed a straggling flock flying northward; on the latter date he saw 50 to 100 in the air at a time, and estimated that several hundred passed during the period of observation.

Upper Peninsula.-General arrival has been reported at McMillan, Luce County, by Bryens, and in Chippewa County and at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, by Christofferson, during the first 3 weeks of March; Christofferson recorded 75 Crows at Blaney on March 29,1940. Brodkorb found the species "common and in flocks" at "Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, May 8 to 23, 1936. At Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, N. A. Wood (1933: 723) observed 3 individuals on April 22, a flock of 20 on April 28 (1931) and larger flocks later. Laurence Dayton in the spring of 1937 listed the species daily after April 12 on Isle Royale. SUMMER.-The Crow apparently breeds more or less commonly in nearly all parts of Michigan.

Lower Peninsula.-The reports include data from Detroit (Swales, 1903:36; and notes); from Ann Arbor (U.M.M.Z.) ; from Kalamazoo County (Gibbs, 1885:119; and eggs found at Vicksburg by F. W. Rapp-1931:19- from April 5 to May 12) ; from Charity Island, Huron County (N. A. Wood, 1911: 99; 1912a; 186) ; from the Fox and Manitou islands of Leelanau County (A. E. Staebler and L. D. Case in 1939 and 1940; (U.M.M.Z.) ; from the islands of Charlevoix County (Barrows, 1904: 79; later data) ; and from the Douglas Lake area, Cheboygan County (N. A. Wood, Smith, and Gates, 1916: 13; Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937).

Upper Peninsula.-There are reports from McMillan, Luce County (fledglings found on June 7, 1939, by Bryens) ; from the Huron Mountains, Marquette County (Christy, 1925 : 213; S. S. Gregory, Jr., 1929 : 180). The species is apparently uncommon in summer at Whitefish Point, Chippewa County (N. A. Wood, 1914: 67), and on Isle Royale (Peet, 1909: 362; other data). FALL.-Though a few Crows winter in Michigan, the majority migrate by late October or early November.

Upper Peninsula.-Max M. Peet (1909a; 105, 117) reported no Crows on Isle Royale after the middle of September, 1905. At McMillan, Luce County, Bryens has seen large numbers in the fall (434 on September 11, 1938, and 238 on October 6, 2023). He reported general departure by early November, though a few occasionally winter there. In 1926 Christofferson and Magee reported 1500 Crows on September 23 and 2000 on October 3 at Sault Ste Marie; they also noted a rather heavy migration there in other years. At Blaney, Schoolcraft County, Christofferson reported 500 on October 15,1937.

Lower Peninsula.-In the Douglas Lake, Cheboygan County, area (Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937), large flocks, sometimes, as in 1926, flocks of hundreds, are present in midsummer after the nesting season. A migrating flock of 50 birds was recorded in the first part of October in Alcona County (J. Claire Wood, 1913: 17), and 1 of 100 birds on September 14 on Charity Island, Huron County (N. A. Wood, 1911: 99). In southern counties flocks of hundreds and even thousands are common in the fall. Groups at this season, especially in the southernmost tiers of counties, where they winter in far greater numbers than farther north, may represent local movements rather than migration. In the Toledo-Erie marsh area L. W. Campbell (1940: 112-13) found no concentrations of Crows in the fall, but reported that the species was abundant there and migrated in long straggling flocks between September 7 and October 26 on the average.

WINTER.-Barrows (1912: 420 ff.) reported that "probably a few hardy individuals remain in all parts of the state even during severe winters."

Lower Peninsula.-Swales (1903o: 22; and notes) reported several roosts about Detroit. L. W. Campbell (1940: 112-13) mentioned a roost of thousands that had been used "for the past seven winters [1940] at least," found near Petersburg, Monroe County, by Max Kempker. On December 23, 1940, between Deerfield and Blissfield, Lenawee County, A. E. Staebler found a flock of about 1000 feeding in a field and adjoining woods. In the Ann Arbor region flocks of hundreds are not infrequent, especially near refuse dumps. On February 6, 1934, R. E. Olsen and N. A. Wood noted some 2000 in Washtenaw County, and at least 1000 in Livingston County. At Pewamo, lonia County, Studt (1928 : 51; 1929 : 47; 1930: 45;1931: 56) reported a few-a maximum of 91 at a time-on the yearly Christmas-season counts. R. E. Olsen, A. D. Tinker, and D. W. Douglass recorded 5 at Sand Point, Huron County, on February 18, 1934. On a 2-day trip northward from Ann Arbor in 1941 Maurice G. Brooks, John L. George, and others noted a flock of 130 on January 24 along the Saginaw Bay shore in Arenac County, and a single individual the next day near Hill- man, Montmorency County.

Upper Peninsula.-Christofferson occasionally noted the species in winter at Blaney, Schoolcraft County; and at McMillan, Luce County, Bryens (Bryens and Harriger, 1929: 46-47) saw 3 on January 25, 1929, and 2 on January 17, 1932. The Museum of Zoology has no winter specimens from north of the Ann Arbor region (1942).

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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