16 November 2007

Return of the Crows

A huge flock of crows was in around Music Hall for the past few days. Today they are gone. There must have been a few thousand of them. Are these large flocks in the city a new phenomenon? I am wondering if suburban development has pushed them from the country to the city?

This article in USA today says that these flocks are an increasing problem in some cities in the midwest. Some cities have resorted to poison or bright lights to move them.

Crows live fairly solitary lives for most of the year. In the winter, they form large flocks that forage for food in fields during the day. At dusk, they roost together in warmer urban areas that are near water and have plenty of trees and enough illumination so they can spot owls, their main predator.

Once crows find a place that offers those amenities, they come back year after year. Evicting them is hard. "You can't make them stop doing this," says Kevin McGowan, an ornithologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y.

8 comments:

WestEnder said...

I live a couple blocks from Music Hall, and I've heard the squawking many mornings recently. It can be quite a cacophony.

They appear to be communicating; I can hear a flock on one rooftop squawking and then another flock on another rooftop squawking back, and they go back and forth like that for a while.

Mike said...

Yeah, they make a lot of squawking in the middle of the night sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Crows like Mourning Doves are moving to the city to escape the guns in the rural areas. Crows numbers are declining though do to West Nile Virus.

dave said...

I like to hear the crow on a still winter day out in the boonies.

dave said...

Maybe someone should construct an Urban Scarecrow?

Catherine said...

I remember seeing large flocks of crows coming to the city about ten years ago. I was startled by it at the time because I had never seen them in the city before. They were here for a few years and then they disappeared. I had also heard it was the West Nile that was killing them all. I found both their sudden appearance and decline eerie.

Ross said...

I've lived at the top of Sycamore Street in Mt. Auburn for 4 years and they've been here longer than me. It's very Hitchcock.

My neighbor moved them a bit by putting out a fake owl a couple years back. Maybe that's where they moved. I especially like watching them fly in to roost at night fall.

Mike said...

The huge flock from Music Hall has moved further down Ezzard Charles to St. Joseph's Church. I saw them this evening and they are making quite a mess there.