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April 2013, vol 9, no 1

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Donna Fleischer

Crows' Roost Hartford

Another attempt by man to reach the stars. This time in 1918. At the Insurance Capital of the world, Hartford, CT, when work began on the city’s first skyscraper, the Travelers Tower, named after the Travelers Insurance Company. Workers at the building site raucously complained about the damn noise, the damn bird shit from all those crows. A predator, the Peregrine Falcon, was introduced to drive them off, long before the mid 1900s when DDT put the Peregrine on the endangered species list. Seems the Travelers Peregrine Falcon was formalized into a program in 1997 when the fledgling Amelia, raised in captivity, was brought to the Tower and returned for nesting ever since, until the Spring of 2011. How to know why?

And what about those damn crows? These days their roost numbers in the thousands. They have flourished since their 1918 eviction, maybe by making the University of Hartford campus and outlier property abutting Mark Twain Drive and the housing projects their main home. From there they make a daily 35-mile circle, taking in Elizabeth Park, Trinity College, the Hartford Seminary, the West Hartford and Bloomfield Reservoirs, even just over the border into western Massachusetts. I’ve seen them in our travels and very glad to when I do. They post sentries while the community feeds and the oldest eat first. They make a rich language of 150 different sounds, know how to use tools, and possess a fine memory.

on the crow’s wing
early spring