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'Eerie and ominous' conspiracy of ravens sparks curiosity among Regina residents

It's not a murder, but it is a conspiracy — "hundreds" of ravens have been spotted in Regina's downtown.

Stephen Whitworth, editor of Prairie Dog Magazine, estimates there are 'hundreds' downtown

Stephen Whitworth said there has been online debate over whether or not the birds are crows and just how many birds are flocking to buildings in the area. However, they're not crows because crows have migrated out of the city, according to Jared Clarke. (AP)

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.

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.

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.

With files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition

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