Crows Bully Ravens, New Research Confirms Their Aggressiveness Towards Ravens

Posted: Jul 4 2018, 9:54am CDT | by , Updated: Jul 4 2018, 11:27am CDT, in Latest Science News


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Crows Bully Ravens, New Research Confirms Their Aggressiveness Towards Ravens
Image Credit: Phillip Krzeminski

New Study Proves That Crows, Just Like Some Humans, Are Big Bullies

According to a research study published by Auk: Ornithological Advances, Crows are specifically mean to Ravens. Be it any part of North America, Northwestern and American Crows always initiated the aggressiveness towards ravens, on around 97 percent of occasions, whenever a raven breached their area, they were attacked by a group of crows.

And this aggressive behavior reaches its peak during the breeding months, as ravens are known predators of a crow’s nest, the sense of security for their off-springs is one of the main reasons behind this behavior by crows.

This also proves, that necessarily, the larger birds are not the dominant species in any given area, even smaller species can form groups and chase off larger birds.

Interestingly, all data was collected from citizen scientists, for their new research, Auk: Ornithological Advances used data from eBird, nobody was asked to participate in this project, instead, the findings that common people have submitted on their own were used by the research team.

Established in 1884, Auk: Ornithological Advances is a peer-reviewed weekly journal of American Ornithological Society. It covers all the topics related to bird’s behavior, anatomy, habitats, migrations, and other issues.

Started in 2002, eBird is an online collection of common people’s findings of different birds, this crowdsourced database help researchers and scientists to get better insights into a bird’s behavior.

This study also proves how citizen science data can contribute to such research projects by offering large-scale observatory information at no costs.

"Given that aggression between crows and ravens can be quite conspicuous, birders and the general public are often the observers of such interactions," adds Kaeli Swift, who was not involved with the research, "yet despite the ease and frequency of witnessing these events, there was little scientific information for curious minds to turn to for explanation. It's quite rewarding then, that the citizen scientists that may have wished for this information are the very people whose observations made this publication possible.

The research work was carried out by Ben Freeman and his colleagues from Cornell University, they studied more than 2000 crow and raven observations that were submitted on the eBird system. They found that instead of a one to one fight, crows always attacked the Ravens in small groups.

Nest prevention and no desire to share the same resources during the winter season were the main reasons behind these attacks. Winters are just ahead of the nesting period for crows, so they were more inclined to engage in attacking ravens just before the start of their nesting season.

Lead author Ben Freeman comments, "There are two take-home messages. First, we show that bigger birds do not always dominate smaller birds in aggressive interactions and that social behavior may allow smaller birds to chase off larger birds. Second, this is a case example of the power of citizen science. It would be next to impossible for even the most dedicated researcher to gather this data across North America. But because there are thousands of people with expertise in bird identification and an interest in bird behavior, we can use data from eBird to study behavioral interactions on a continental scale."

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Manfred "Luigi" Lugmayr () is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 25 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets, tech and online shopping. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology news and tech and toy shopping hub.
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