The sounds of crap splattering down like a leaking roof forces me to divert from the bicycle lane to the sidewalk where I huddle under an awning. When the traffic light turns green, I pedal out as fast as I can in hopes of avoiding a direct hit from one of the crows overhead.

But poop aside, I’m thrilled once again to see the crows return to Portland. Despite the pandemic-induced ghost town atmosphere downtown (and the apparent lack of fallen French fries to scavenge) the crows are as lively and raucous as ever.

When the sun sets, they stream back to their communal roosts. Instead of settling in immediately, they fly around in broad circles and tight formations, moving quickly at varying angles, breaking apart as quickly as they gather. (If you want to impress your friends, use the technical word: murmuration.)

Without fail, when I pass by through the roosting zone, I see people taking pictures. My fellow Portlanders and I are transfixed by the spectacle of thousands of large birds swirling, diving, and twisting in a gleeful aerobatic show. People who don’t usually care or notice wildlife stop what they are doing to watch.

And to me, that’s really something to crow about.