The Ravens Are Breeding

August 25, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

Quoth the raven, “The fuck you lookin’ at?”

The New York Times reports that ravens have been sighted in Chelsea and Greenwich Village over the last few months. The common raven is native to much of North America, but there had been only a few sightings of the bird in the city until the 1960’s. (Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem “The Raven” was written while he lived in a “farmhouse on the Upper West Side,” back when there were apparently farmhouses in Manhattan.) In the last 15 years, ravens have made a resurgence in the city, possibly due to the West Nile Virus afflicting the local crow population.

In 2010, birders documented the first New York City nest, on a water tower in Kew Gardens, Queens, where a breeding pair fledged three young. In 2012, ravens nested in the Co-op City section of the Bronx, and this year they nested on the New Jersey tower of the George Washington Bridge. Breeding is also suspected in at least two locations on Staten Island, in addition to Chelsea.

“It is a startling bird to have around the neighborhood,” said birder Adam Hurwitz. Paul Sweet, the ornithology collection manager at New York’s Museum of Natural History, told the Times “I don’t ever expect there to be ravens on every lamppost, but it’s kind of cool to have them around. I don’t see any negatives, really.” (Photo: Charles Smith)