Wonderful bird blog discusses Migrating Crows into SF

Check this out. The author has been a great help in monitoring the influx of migrating crows. Here she discusses her observations. No-one knows exactly where the crows will land next.

Neighbors in SF admire and marvel at the attributes of crows, partly due to the education from bird-lovers like KSJ. However neighbors are still planning to “harass” these migrating crows, if they try to set up overnight lodging in the large neighborhood trees. We want to admire them from afar !!

Where Will The Crows Sleep This Winter?

St Agnes Church on Fifth: message from Preservation Pittsburgh

A number of people have expressed their concern regarding the former St. Agnes Church that Carlow University is planning to demolish as part of their 5th Avenue development.

Below are two actions which can be taken on behalf of the former St. Agnes Church:

#1) Petition to Save St. Agnes

Please sign:


#2) Carlow is soliciting public comments as part of their Institutional Master Plan (IMP).

The IMP is required by the City of Pittsburgh. Carlow stated that they will be approaching the Planning Commission in November regarding the plan.

It is important that Carlow hears that people would like them to incorporate the existing St. Agnes Center (the former church) into their plans for their Lower Campus/5th Avenue Development. There is an adjacent parking lot and were they to build a taller building here, they likely could spare the church and use it as a historic and cultural anchor for their new development.

Here is the option to comment on the plan:

For more info on Carlow’s Institutional Master Plan (IMP)

Preservation Pittsburgh
1501 Reedsdale St., Suite 5003
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15233

Halloween … how to ‘celebrate’ in pandemic times

The ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic is causing concern around the safety of typical usual Halloween practices. Sadly, this will affect this wonderful neighborhood, which is typically a joyful fun child-friendly place for trick-or-treaters.

Each neighbor is encouraged to consider the pluses and drawbacks of participation in Halloween events. The City of Pgh has issued some helpful guidelines, trying to preserve as much as possible this happy childhood event.




For reference:

The city’s trick-or-treating hours will be 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.
The city urges the following precautions for trick-or-treating this year:
• Trick-or-treat only with family members.
• Wear cloth face masks as well as Halloween masks.
• Carry hand sanitizer.
• Distribute candy by leaving it outside (no in-person or face-to-face interactions at the door).
• Follow social distancing on sidewalks, and when approaching homes where others are getting candy.
• Do not attend indoor costume parties.
Mayor Bill Peduto says parents have expressed the need for Trick or Treating to on because so much as been taken away from children during the pandemic, “what parents were saying, they’ve asked that their children have this opportunity, over and over again. they felt that their kids have given up already, a lot.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that door-to-door trick-or-treating and costume masks and parties are discouraged this year due to the pandemic.

CROW = Coalition to Re-locate Our Wildlife (dis-inviting migrating crows to share our trees!)

The tall trees of Schenley Farms have been an increasing popular place for migrating crows to roost each winter. Crows seek light, warmth, and an area to socializing and sleep during the colder months. These birds are smart, fascinating, and important to the ecology of the region. However, they also create quite a nuisance …. with the noisy cacophony of cawing each evening and morning, and especially with the fecal droppings which land upon sidewalks, lawns, parked cars and houses. And the time period seems to be getting longer. Last year in 2019 crows were prominent nighttime residents in the trees from late October to early February.

This year an group of neighbors are hoping to ‘harass’ the birds, making the area less attractive to them. Tools of harassment are mainly NOISE and LIGHTS.

The effort is dubbed as CROW (Coalition to Re-locate Our Wildlife). Volunteers have been identified. But all persons living in the neighborhood are invited to participate Wooden clappers have been made and are available for distribution. Limited use of light/noises from minor fireworks will included. Flashes from cameras, and in some cases, holiday sparkle lights will be used also. It is anticipated that these noise/lights will be most effective around sunset, as the birds come from staging areas into the roosting areas for an overnight location. It is hoped that a few weeks of evening harassment effort will convince crows that there are better places to settle in.

HOPEFULLY NEIGHBORS WILL BE AWARE OF NOISE/LIGHT HARRASSMENT EFFORTS FOR A LIMITED TIME EACH EVENING. It could be a little annoying for some, but surely all SF neighbors dream of a Thanksgiving and Holiday period without Migrating Crows filling the trees each evening !!

Neighbors can have input into SCHENLEY PARK PLAN

Multiple changes for Schenley Park have been planned for over three years, including flood mitigation, trail expansion, road improvement. One of the more controversial aspects of the plan is for a proposed electric shuttle system that would run from Hazelwood through the park into Oakland.

A formal presentation will be made Wed 10/21/20 via Zoom and can be accessed at mon-oaklandmotility.com/virtual-meeting. There is still limited time for input from neighbors and others affected.

A Post-Gazette article explaining issues is available:



Reminder: Exploring Our Roots. Fun Educational event Oct 8

SFCA sponsors and annual history/architecture educational presentation each Autumn … in a series called “Exploring our Roots”.

It is here for 2020 … except we will be meeting virtually due to pandemic restrictions. Fortunately we have a exceptional speaker: Louise Sturgess who is a Fifth generation Pittsburger, and has been a prominent education presenter for PHLF for more than 30 years..


WHEN: Thursday, October 8, 2020 7:00 p.m.

WHERE:    The comfort of your own home – a ZOOM presentation (due to public health recommendations during Covid Pandemic)

WHO:  Speaker:  Louise Sturgess,   Education Advisor for Pittsburgh History and Landmark Foundation

Audience:    SFCA, SF neighbors, others interested in Pgh History

TOPIC: Big Gifts, Big Dreams: Oakland Civic Center

City developing a 10-year plan for OAKLAND, inviting input


Check out this link to learn more about the Oakland plan, and to get involved. Phase 1 input is being sought until Oct 18.

Neighborhood plans projects are sponsored by Dept of City Planning of Pittsburgh.

The Oakland Plan will create a 10-year plan with a shared vision for Oakland’s future and the projects and programs necessary to make that vision a reality.
Once adopted by the Planning Commission, the Oakland Plan will become City policy and guide public and private investments in the area. New land use regulations, transportation and infrastructure improvements, and public programs may also be recommended by the plan. The plan area generally includes the neighborhoods of North Oakland, Central Oakland, South Oakland, and West Oakland.

Important Election Coming Nov 3

This message forwarded by a civic-minded neighbor:

Here is a link to the Allegheny County listing of additional (staffed and secure) election “pop-up” offices where you may safely drop your completed ballot. Note that each location has specific dates and times. And you will still need to follow the proper submission protocols (for example, using the inner “security envelope” and filling-out the requested data on the “outer” envelope).

This method of ballot return strikes me as the best combination of safe delivery (in-person) without having to wait (in close quarters) at the Election Day polling site.

Please forward this link to other like-minded family, friends and acquaintances.


November Voting Reminders – in-person or by mail

To all 4th Ward Neighbors,
ELECTION DAY IS NOVEMBER 3, 2020. for presidential election and other candidates running for office.


Now is the time to register to vote, or to check to make sure you are registered to vote. If you plan to vote in the election, you must be registered to vote by October 19, 2020.

Are you on the voter registration lists in Pennsylvania at your current address? Visit this site to find out:

REGISTER TO VOTE, you may do so online or in person.

(1) REGISTER ONLINE: : https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/Pages/VoterRegistrationApplication.aspx

(2) REGISTER IN PERSON, fill out a written application to register and bring it in person. or mail it to Allegheny County Voter Registration, 542 Forbes Ave, Suite 609, Pittsburgh PA 15219-2913.

You will find a copy of the application to register which can be printed to vote at this address: htpps://www.votespa.com/Resources/Documents/Voter_Registration_Application_English. pdf
In addition, paper registration forms are can be obtained in the Allegheny County Voter Registration Office.

A completed paper registration form must be present (brought by person or mailed) in the Allegheny County Voter Registration Office 9542 Forbes Avenue, Suite 609, Pittsburgh PA 15219-29130 , received by 5 p.m. on October 19, 2020.


Requests to receive a by-mail ballot must be received by 5:00 p.m. on October 27, 2020.
New in 2020: Pennsylvanians can vote by mail without any excuse. With COVID-19 still surging across the U.S., the Allegheny County Elections office staff anticipates that it will receive many requests for mail-in ballots (not absentee for cause ballots) by the October 27, 2020 deadline.

Instructions to request a mail-in ballot online or by paper application are available: https://www.votespa.com/Voting-in-PA/Pages/Mail-and-Absentee-Ballot.aspx

Filing your application for a mail-in ballot early will increase the chances that you will receive your ballot in a timely manner from Allegheny County.

You may a copy of a ballot at: https://www.votespa.com/Register-to-Vote/Documents/PADOS_mailInapplication, pdf. In addition, you can obtain a paper ballot at the local county registration office.

If you received a mail-in ballot but choose instead to vote in person, you can bring the mail-in ballot with you to the polling place.

Currently, Allegheny County expects residents who vote in person to vote at precinct polling places where they voted before the 2020 General Primary. Our neighborhood votes at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. If Allegheny County has to consolidate voting locations, county officials should inform us of changes in advance of Election Day.

Notice submitted by SF neighbors: Al Zangrilli and Alida Merlo

SFCA organizing CROW project (Coalition to Re-locate Our Wildlife)

Below is an email sent to SF neighbors on 8/27/20, asking for volunteers to help “harass” the migrating crows as they start up a roosting site in mid-October. The goal is not to hurt birds, to hopefully to persuade them to choose another site besides the large trees of busy Oakland streets and neighborhoods.


Our Schenley Farms neighborhood has a seasonal ‘problem’ with migrating CROWS roosting in our neighborhood. This issue is long-standing and involves many areas of Pgh, but things seems to have worsened for our locale in the recent years – more birds, more droppings, longer time period (October thru February).

SFCA is working to improve this problem, and WE ARE WRITING TO ASK FOR YOUR HELP.

A few quick background points:

* The crows are a protected species, and are important in major ecology systems. The goal of any intervention is NOT to hurt the birds but to dissuade the crows from choosing this area for roosting, and then to help them go to a more ‘acceptable’ space.

* This is accomplished by ‘harassing the crows’ as they start to invade at the beginning of roosting season. Harassment measures mainly include making loud noises (e.g. banging wood pieces) and possibly employing pyrotechnics (screamers and bangers propelled with launchers). Other measures might be added to plan being developed.

* This effort is complicated because it impacts other places (neighborhoods) and other institutions (U Pitt, Carnegie Library, etc). The exact plan of intervention is being developed with much input, especially from bird aficionados who admire crows but who also understand the negative aspects of “human-wildlife conflicts”.


What we think will be necessary:

The project begins when the crows arrive. Last year it was mid-October.

Volunteers will be “on-call” by cell phone, and be asked to go outside and make noise for about 20-40 minutes each evening, at the times when crow herd are flying from their staging areas to their newly-chosen roosting areas. This occurs usually a little before sunset (sunset on Oct. 15 is 6:36 p.m.) but really depends on when the birds start to move. Volunteers will be given some instruments of noise-making and suggestions for others measure.

It is unclear how long this harassment effort is needed, but somewhere between 2 – 6 weeks is the estimate. The basic point is to make our neighborhood unwelcoming to birds! And if/when crows stop coming, we can stop making noise.

Two of our neighbors (Laura Waxman, Shirley Cassing) are organizing our volunteers. Most of us will be home during this time, since traveling is sadly limited. Please consider replying and putting your name on the volunteer list, so that we can contact you and get organized as we get closer to early October.

It’s actually quite interesting. Crows are very smart, very social, and very adaptable! This could be a fun family project, and it really could allow each of us to help the property/sanity/health of ourselves and our neighbors !!

Hope you will consider putting your name on the CROW project volunteer list. Do this by email by writing back to SFCA board members.

Volunteers will receive interesting crow-friendly education by ZOOM meeting and learn how humans might be able to alter bird behaviors…. planned for early October.

Interesting readings: