26 October 2022
During the summer corvids stay home to raise their families but as soon as the breeding season is over they move around. In autumn large flocks of American crows return to Pittsburgh to join the winter roost while a few common ravens show up, alone or in pairs.
This month the crows and ravens are back in town. Since August their populations have gone through several phases.
Late August: On 30 August a surprising count of 380 fish crows gathered on rooftops at Fifth & Craig while only 12 American crows were present that evening.
September: By 6 September fish crow numbers dropped to 30 and then zero. American crow numbers rose through the hundreds. No ravens.
October so far: On 10 October a high count 620 American crows flew past “the doorknob” water tower at dusk. By late October no crows were counted because they changed their route. However we now see and hear ravens!
Ravens in town?
Crows migrate. Adult ravens stay home year round. However, young ravens go wandering until they reach sexual maturity at three years old. From fall through early spring a handful of these ravens visit Pittsburgh.
Last Sunday 23 October Andrea Lavin Kossis saw two ravens on Dawson Street dining on some “delicious roadkill.” The pair even had something to say about it.
p.s. In December I’ll enlist your help to find the crow roost in time for the Pittsburgh Christmas Bird Count.
(photos by Andrea Lavin Kossis and Kate St. John)