Crow Roost in Oakland

Crows coming to roost in Pittsburgh (photo by Sharon Leadbitter)
Crows coming to roost in Pittsburgh (photo by Sharon Leadbitter)

I was inspired to write the Crow Diary after I visited the roost last night in Oakland.

As I predicted the time change has forced evening rush hour to coincide with the crows’ return to the roost so it’s much easier to keep tabs on them.  My friends and I call each other with the news.

Tony Bledsoe told me he had to “run the gauntlet” early yesterday morning to avoid crow poop falling from the trees near Crawford Hall.

Last night I went to see.  When I got out of the car at Bigelow and Ruskin, it smelled like I was in the presence of a lot of birds.  The crows were silent and almost impossible to see.  They weren’t “in” the trees.  They were on top of them.

Using binoculars I was able to count an average number of crows per tree: 55.  In the nine trees on Ruskin Avenue: about 500.

Most of the tall trees in that neighborhood north of the Cathderal of Learning had crows on them, but the crows were silent.  The pedestrians below had no idea that thousands of birds were sleeping above them.

Pittsburgh’s winter crows move their roost location a little every day.  By next week they might not be near Crawford Hall.

p.s. As you can see from the Diary, I think crows speak in short sentences.  😉

(photo by Sharon Leadbitter)

6 thoughts on “Crow Roost in Oakland

  1. Aha! That explains why the sidewalk outside Ruskin Hall is coated in bird poop XD. And it also explains why I’ve heard so many crows cawing. But I’ve also been hearing them caw through the night… why is that?

  2. Sophia, a photo of the sidewalk is on its way today!

    Cawing: Maybe they have something to say…? I know that they sometimes jostle each other and get annoyed. If you hear “danger” cawing (emphatic and upset) they may have seen something in the dark that scares them. They are very afraid of great horned owls.

  3. Thanks for answering my question!

    I think I heard both types of cawing. I didn’t know that there were Great Horned Owls around here!

  4. I saw a large flock of crows (about 175-200)today landing in the tops of the trees at the cemetery in Lawrenceville at 45th St. and Penn Ave. Perhaps they are on their way back to Oakland.

  5. I ride the 54c bus around sunset (5ish) and have seen what looks like several hundred crows above Polish Hill/North Oakland all flying in the same direction. I know they stop over at the Cemetery often (I’ve seen hundreds there just hanging out socializing during the day) but they definitely don’t roost there. Am I right in thinking the roost will get bigger as the weather gets colder?

  6. also, if they do not like someone, they can raise hell — and they never forget a face:

    Don’t ever mess with crows. Why? Because apart from just being incredibly intelligent, the corvids will remember your face for the rest of their life, and they and their friends will attack any time they ever see you. (

    i found my way here trying to understand what was up with the crows this morning. i live in another Oakland, and several of them raised a little hell — for a really long time — outside my window. seemingly right AT my window. at first i wondered if this had to do with the fact that i have gotten into the habit of talking back to them, since after several years of trying, i am finally beginning to hold ever so rudimentary conversations. but after it went on and on i thought it must have another cause. i went up to the roof but by the time i had gotten there everyone had taken off. after about an hour one juvenile came back and reiterated, with urgency, and then left again.

    in any event, thank you for your delightful blog.

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