Crows flock to cities for warmth, food, safety

If you're a crow, this is your moment.

You've just scored supper to tide you over on a cold winter's night. And for the moment, the horde of crows just beyond the peak of this rooftop in a south Minneapolis neighborhood aren't pestering you for a taste.

Horde is an understatement. And the expression, "murder of crows," also doesn't quite capture the crowd that has gathered. We are talking thousands. Half an hour after this photo was taken &mdsh; at about 4:50 p.m. a few days ago — treetops in the neighborhood were completely dotted with black clumps of feathers.

Why do crows flock to cities in the winter?

We supply some thoughts on that here. University of Minnesota ornithologist Bob Zink says the picture changes dramatically in early spring when crows get ready to have nestlings. They fly off to find their own territory.

One reason not mentioned in the story as to why crows flock to the city in the winter time: No one is shooting at them. I can verify growing up on a Minnesota farm that crows were favorite targets. And I can also verify all it took was one, usually wildly inaccurate, shot to send them cawing and flying away.

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