Beak Havoc: Ravens Keep Stealing Quality Meats From Costco Shoppers in Anchorage, Alaska

"Where's the beef?"
"Where's the beef?" / pschoenfelder/iStock via Getty Images

When Olani Saunoa turned to buckle her baby into the car seat after a Costco trip last winter, a nearby thief took one look at her unattended cart full of groceries and knew it was their chance to strike. In one swift motion, they absconded with some short ribs. Saunoa didn’t try to catch the criminal, but she did manage to get a good look at them: beady-eyed, beaked, and coated in black.

It was Saunoa’s first run-in with one of South Anchorage, Alaska’s, wily ravens—but it wouldn’t be her last.

Recently, a small gang of ravens again robbed Saunoa of ribs (pork, this time) in the very same parking lot. “The first time we thought, ‘Once in a lifetime kind of thing, this is never going to happen again,’” she told Anchorage Daily News. “But sure enough a year later, same Costco.”

The ravens who lord over Costco’s Dimond Boulevard location seem to have a particular affinity for quality meats, and ribs in particular. Matt Lewallen found himself short just one short rib after unloading his groceries from the cart. “They know what they’re doing; it’s not their first time,” Lewallen told Anchorage Daily News. “They’re very fat, so I think they’ve got a whole system there.”

When Marnie Jones’s husband saw one raven clutching a fresh, juicy filet mignon in its beak, he didn’t even think to mention it to his wife—that is, until they unpacked their groceries at home and realized there were only three steaks in their pack of four. Kimberly Waller’s parents fell victim to the exact same crime. “The bird snatched it right out of the pack in the parking lot,” she said on Facebook.

According to Rick Sinnott, a local wildlife biologist who used to work for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, ravens migrate to Anchorage every winter specifically to find food, and they’re great at watching and learning how to get it.

“Ravens do very well in this city,” he told Anchorage Daily News. “But they much prefer—I would guess if I was thinking like a raven—a package of short ribs from Costco to half of a hamburger bun from McDonald’s.”

[h/t Anchorage Daily News]