Thousands of Crows in Oakland and Shadyside

Crows flying to the roost, October 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)

2 November 2021

It’s that time of year again when thousands of crows come to Pittsburgh to spend the winter. In late October and early November they stage in pre-roost areas in Shadyside and Oakland before flying to the roost after dark.

Lately the crows have been changing their staging location every evening from Shadyside near Devonshire, to the highrise roofs near Neville and Fifth, to Baum at the busway, and on and on.

The staging area is easy to find because, beginning around 3pm, the crows make a beeline for it and they are loud. This KDKA video from 2018 shows what its like to be on the receiving end.

Counting crows and finding their roost is much more difficult. To count them I need a wide view of crows flying against the backdrop of a glowing sky, or I need to know where the roost is and count the evidence on the ground (count trees with excrement beneath).

Since the crows fly silently in the dark from the staging area to the roost, I can’t find the roost by sight or sound so I rely on reports from those of you who have crows rustling, murmuring and pooping on the sidewalks overnight. If crows are spending the night in your neighborhood, let me know!

For me, crows are the only reason to end Daylight Saving Time. Counting them and finding their roost will be easier after we change the clocks on Sunday November 7 and sunset is at 5pm.

(photo by Kate St. John, video from CBS Pittsburgh in 2018)

6 thoughts on “Thousands of Crows in Oakland and Shadyside

  1. Hello! So my friend and I are graduate students at Carlow University, we see a ton of crows there every day since 11/2/21. We really love crows and want to befriend one some day ?

    1. November 22, 2021
      Every morning this week at 7am I’m outside for dog duty. I took video of (murder) of crows looking like migration. Hundreds of thousands! I watched for 30 minutes and it was never ending! And this has went on for days. What is happening?! We have never seen this before. I sent video to local news outlets and they said they were also seeing birds all over their parking lots and trees! What is happening?!

  2. Do we also have fish crows in Pittsburgh? I swear I’ve heard them but it could be my poor identification or perhaps another bird mimicking. We do have a lot of rivers so I thought maybe fish crows would like that.

    1. Teresa, yes we have fish crows! You are indeed hearing them mixed in with the big flock. Unfortunately there is no way to know how many because they look so much like American crows.

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