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.
By now the crows and ravens are back in town. This fall 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 yet 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” 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 at home in winter. However, young ravens leave home to go exploring until they are sexually mature at three years old. From fall through early spring a handful of these ravens visit Pittsburgh.
Last Sunday 23 October Andrea Lavin Kossis saw a raven over Dawson Street, above, that stayed in the area to dine on some “delicious roadkill.” The raven 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)