Thursday, January 08, 2009

Crows in Minneapolis

It's winter, and that means the return of thousands of crows to their urban roosts in Minneapolis. Crows have started to roost in great numbers in cities in the last several decades, in part because it gives them some extra protection from their major predator, great horned owls. It may be that they are breeding in the suburbs, where the habitat is ideal for them, with the unmated youngsters flocking to the urban areas. One year, they roosted near the crook of 35W and 94, which made them highly visible at about the time a lot of people were driving home from work. Another year, their roost was near the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and another was spotted at Wirth Park. I remember the year they chose Loring Park as their nighttime roost; walking at night with a friend under the trees chock full of roosting crows, we could hear a soft rustle-murmer, as if the trees were alive.

I'm not sure how many roosts there are this year, or where the biggest ones are, but I've seen crows flying in to congregate at the cemetery on Cedar and Lake around sundown (which has been about 4:30-5!) and so has another local biology observer. They haven't become a nuisance in the Twin Cities, as far as I know, the way they have in some other areas, probably because we have large stands of bare trees in areas like parks, by the river, etc, so their droppings are not bothering people the way they do in some smaller cities. I have also noticed that several trees on our block are serving as a staging area; smaller groups of about 20-30 crows show up at around 4, and fly and yak between a few trees, as they congregate before heading for the big communal roost.

Mark Westerfeld has created Crows.net Project, collecting information from amateur observers, like these stories of small groups of crows folks observe while walking their dogs. Crows are smart and adaptable, like coyotes: opportunistic, scavengers, and very entertaining.

Is this not the most gorgeous painting of a crow roost by Chicago artist Diana Sudyka?

Some great photos on Flickr include this series near Chicago Ave (not far from the Lake street area).

7 comments:

becca jo said...

hi there-
i've seen several crow gatherings, i have video on my site of a 5PM gathering south of the metrodome, and i have seen the group at the cemetary on lake and hiawatha (west of the savers store)at around 3 PM in the afternoon. LOVE crows!!!!!

momo said...

Yes! I have seen them in the Lake St cemetery. In fact, one day I was at Savers and as I was driving out of the parking lot, I saw a bunch on the ground. I parked and watched them for about 20 minutes--I think someone had thrown some food out for them, because they weren't eating carrion. I'll hustle on over to your site and look for your crows! thanks.

Anonymous said...

http://nokohaha.com/2011/02/05/a-murder-of-crows-in-minneapolis/

either you stole the work of this person, or they stole yours.

momo said...

Dear Anonymous. Are you a plagiarism bot? if you are interested in policing the blogosphere, you might want to check the dates of the posts. This post is from 2009, and includes links. The other post from nokohaha is from 2011, and copies the text but does not contain the links. That should make it clear enough which is the original and which is the unattributed copy, as I commented over on the link you include. While I'm sad that someone would copy what i wrote and not quote it with a link back, I'm also think you should up your game and not accuse me of copying something I wrote myself.

Nokohaha said...

Apologies, I've been drinking and using quite a few prescription drugs lately. Sometimes I forget the internet is not my personal scrap book. I hope your not really sad, but just in case I put a great big link to your blog on the post and in my link list.

M said...

The crows even have their own Facebook page it seems ....

https://www.facebook.com/pages/South-Minneapolis-Crows-The-Mega-Murder/210426379052813?sk=wall

momo said...

Thanks for the tip! I love the name "mega-murder"