If I was to place a bet on crows I'd wager they didn't spend last night in the plane trees on University Place in Oakland. I'd win this bet because of what I found there less than 24 hours ago.
Yesterday morning I got a call from a Pitt employee who tracked me down out of concern for the peregrines. Marian had found a very large raptor standing on the ground near Soldiers and Sailors Hall on University Place. The bird would not fly away and there were feathers scattered on the ground beneath its feet. She was concerned that this was one of the peregrines and that it was injured and unable to fly away.
The situation sounded like a red-tailed hawk on a kill but you never know. I was happy to help and went over to check.
As I arrived at University Place I noticed a lot of crow poop on the sidewalk beneath the London plane trees. The closer I got to the site, the more poop there was.
When I reached the place Marian described I didn't find a large bird on the ground but I could tell exactly where he'd been. Right next to the sidewalk was a big pile of crow feathers, a few crow bones and a crow's skull and beak. Whoa! Someone had been eating crow!
I imagined the fear in the flock when that raptor arrived. I'm sure it scared the poop out of them and they left in a hurry. No wonder the sidewalk was gross.
Now there's one less crow among the 10,000+ who roost in Pittsburgh and those still living can see how he died.
I can pretty much guarantee the crows won't be back there soon.
(photo by Chuck Tague)