9 February 2021
Every night, from late October 2020 through mid January 2021, Pittsburgh’s winter crow flock staged or roosted in Oakland. 20,000 to 24,000 crows came through Oakland during the Christmas Bird Count, then suddenly around 21 January they were gone. They didn’t even fly over. They hadn’t left town yet … so where did they go?
On 31 January I posted Where Did the Crows Go? and everyone pitched in with news. Diana, David and Dah mentioned huge numbers at Heinz Lofts. Riley Baker’s video from Spring Hill City View showed crows staging nearby at sunset. On Saturday I scouted for a place to stand with a sunset view of Heinz Lofts and thanks to you I …
Found the crows!
From my vantage point at 25th Street on 6 February it looks like all 20,000 flew over the North Shore and Troy Hill. At top and below thousands are silhouetted against the sky near the Heinz chimneys. (Click on the photo below for a larger version)
They began to roost in trees along the Allegheny River and on the hillside above Rt 28 at Troy Hill Road.
On Sunday night, after they’d settled in, I observed them from the Heinz Lofts sidewalk at River Road. Thousands of crows look like black leaves in the trees.
Even in the dark they cawed and murmured and whined. There are no human voices in my recording. Except for the electrical hum, it’s all the sound of crows.
Yesterday I stopped by one more time to count the roost trees, estimating that 8,000 crows sleep by the river from Heinz Lofts to the old boat launch.
This is the perfect place to roost. No one has to clean up after them.
The crows are gone from Oakland but not forgotten. 🙂
p.s. Crows are also roosting nearby on the hillside above Rt 28 but I’m not going to count there… too dangerous!
(photos and audio by Kate St. John)