In Ohio author Constance McGeorge’s 1998 fictional picture book, Waltz of the Scarecrows , scarecrows are dressed in worn party clothes, instead of rags.
Thus begins the tale of long ago, when hungry crows descended on the town, threatening to destroy the fall harvest, and were chased away by a group of locals attending a harvest ball. They say that fiction imitates life, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Coshocton, Ohio, where more than 10,000 crows begin roosting along the Muskingum River each fall. Here, the annual Crow Homecoming is honored with the Fall Harvest Big Band Dance, the Crow-shocton Crush winery event, and the newly-launched GeoTrail Launch, with 300 crow-themed Geocoins available for cachers that complete the trail.
The crows swoop down in Ohio beginning in early November from Canada, and stay until early March. More crows are choosing to roost in urban areas, including several roosting sites in Springfield, Cambridge and Cincinnati along the Ohio River.
Crow-watching may be more interesting than you imagine. A discerning ear can hear up to 25 different calls crows use to bring protection and help to other crows. More intriguing is that crows have been trained to speak, and a study found that crows can solve some puzzles just about as well as 5 to 7-year-old children.
The Coshocton GeoTrail launched November 7, 2014, joining the more than 2 million active geocaches worldwide. Geocaching employs the skills of problem and puzzle solving: You’ll sleuth for and identify clues, learn navigation and orienteering. Click here to find the specific set of GPS coordinates, and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Coshocton’s Geocaching treasure-hunt takes you throughout the county, and typically takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete it.
To join the adventure, you’ll need a GPS-enabled device to navigate to the specific set of GPS coordinates to find the hidden geocache. Also bring along a topo map and compass, flashlight (dusk falls sooner than you expect this time of year), a water bottle, a notebook and pen to keep a running log of your caches. You’ll also want to leave behind a little token of your own to leave behind. (Think: Crow-related theme.)
You couldn’t pick a better spot to spend some time Geocaching. Coshocton is the home of Historic Roscoe Village, a restored 1800s hot spot along the Ohio and Erie Canal. Here you can find wineries, restaurants and history. There are also tours of other historic buildings and craft stores are bursting with gifts, as the town is gearing up for its season tours, including the ‘A Roscoe Christmas’ in November and December.
Watch out for the crows though. They have been known to be quite the pranksters, flying off with people’s mail, pulling clothespins off lines, and making off with unattended objects. Visit the crows, at your own risk!