'Eerie and ominous' conspiracy of ravens sparks curiosity among Regina residents
Stephen Whitworth, editor of Prairie Dog Magazine, estimates there are 'hundreds' downtown
It's not a murder, but it is a conspiracy — "hundreds" of ravens have been spotted in Regina's downtown, and it has people talking.
Ravens were once the dominant bird in the southern parts of Saskatchewan, but around the time the buffalo numbers were diminished due to settlers hunting and encroaching on their territory, the ravens were pushed north to the boreal forest. However, in the last 20 years or so, the birds have made their way back to the area.
"They're kind of reclaiming this area again," Jared Clarke, an environmentalist, naturalist and bird super fan, told CBC Radio's The Morning Edition on Wednesday.
When I walked to meet up with friends yesterday, there were hundreds of ravens gathering and rolling in flocks above my head. Hundreds outlined the tops of several corporate buildings in black rows. It felt eerily Hitchcockian. I hope our new overlords are kind. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yqr?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yqr</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/regina?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#regina</a>—@schmutzie
People in Regina have noticed the birds. Stephen Whitworth, editor of Prairie Dog Magazine, estimates there are "hundreds" downtown — but there's no way to count them all.
He said there has been online debate over whether or not they're crows and just how many birds are flocking to buildings in the area.
They're not crows, because those birds have migrated out of the city by now, according to Clarke.
"It's been a good time, although kind of eerie and ominous too," Whitworth said of seeing the conspiracy of ravens.
So, 100s of ravens are roosting atop city hall, the Sask hotel and the SaskPower building. And a flock of ravens is called an "unkindness" or a "conspiracy." The joke possibilities are so massive I'm paralyzed. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yqr?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yqr</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yqrcc?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yqrcc</a>—@PaulDechene
Clarke said ravens have been observed using the old Mosaic Stadium to roost during the winter, and he thinks the roof structure made it an ideal location for the birds.
Now that it has been demolished, the birds seem to have moved downtown, Clarke said. Downtown is where Prairie Dog's office is located, which is how they caught Whitworth's attention. He said the number of birds seems to spike around mid-afternoon.
Over the last few years, Clarke has noticed birds arriving in the city at dusk and departing at dawn.
"There's probably some kind of predator avoidance or they're out of the weather," Clarke said about why the birds may come into the city rather than stay in rural areas.
This was Wednesday at 5:30 PM <a href="https://t.co/CZMkEIUP6Q">pic.twitter.com/CZMkEIUP6Q</a>—@maren_beaton
With files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition