6 November 2020
This week the Pittsburgh winter crow flock changed their habits. Last week they staged above Oakland at Sugar Top but this week they moved to the edge of Shadyside where they hang out on trees and rooftops before flying to the roost. Their evening flight is right outside my window.
On November 2 and 4 I recorded just a fraction of the 10,000 crows flying past my window.
Their abundance reminded me of my favorite quote from David Quammen in Planet of Weeds, Harper’s Magazine, October 1998. In it he describes what Earth will be like after the current great extinction. We won’t have many species and those that survive will be weedy ones that thrive in a broad range of habitats, especially human-altered ecosystems. He writes:
Earth will be a different sort of place—soon, in just five or six human generations. My label for that place, that time, that apparently unavoidable prospect, is the Planet of Weeds. Its main consoling felicity, as far as I can imagine, is that there will be no shortage of crows.— David Quammen, Planet of Weeds, Harper’s Magazine, October 1988
Fortunately, I love crows.
p.s. A week ago I estimated 10,000 crows in the winter flock but I need to recount. Last night (5 November) it seemed like a lot more than that!
(photo from Wikimedia Commons; video by Kate St. John)