Crows adapt raven

Deze pagina is in het Engels, omdat ik het graag wil delen met onze Engelstalige kraaien liefhebbers
This page is in English because I like to share it with our English speaking corvid lovers.

I was allowed to translate the text, but not the images. You can see the images and a video in the Dutch article mentioned below. Vogelbescherming is an organization that can literally be translated to bird protection

Posted on 11 June 2020 at
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Reported by dutch bird researcher Ben Koks. Ben can be contacted at twitter using twitter
Thread posted on twitter

On the end of this thread (6/6) Ben Koks asks whether this altruism behaviour is known for corvids. Maybe somebody can answer that question.

Translated article

This year, for the first time, ravens nested in the Groningen fields (county in the north of the Netherlands). A story that begins in 2005, because in that year bird researcher Ben Koks and photographer Hans Hut placed an artificial nest for peregrine falcons in a Groningen high-voltage pylon. The ravens chose exactly that artificial nest for breeding. The story became even more exciting when two black crows adopted one of the young ravens.

While Ben Koks and I ate a sandwich in the eternal wind at the edge of a field, the characteristic croa-kroa resounded eighty meters above us. A raven's nest. It was mid-May and Ben had discovered the nest before. Because we were in the neighbourhood because of fieldwork for a new book, we decided to have a bite to eat with a view on ravens. We counted three youngsters on the nest, while parents flew in and out with food.

Not long after, the farmer saw two young ravens walking on the road close to his farm, after which local birders soon came to enjoy these beautiful birds as well. Two healthy young with their parents. What had happened to the third young?

Plastic waste

On June 6th we were in the area again for fieldwork and of course we had to see if we could discover the raven family. We were lucky, soon we saw a young raven flying over the road, just in front of the car. But it didn't look good, the young bird lugged a large tangle of orange nylon thread on its leg. Presumably he was entangled on the nest and was left alone. Crow-like birds tend to use a variety of nesting material, including plastic rubbish unfortunately. Birds that later breed in the same nest, such as long-eared owls or tree falcons, suffer from this in turn. Sometimes resulting in a horrible death.

Adoption parents

In any case, the young raven had managed to get loose. Exactly how that happened, keeps guessing. Did two black crows - neighbours without young - pass by and decide to help him, because their instinct might say that everything that is black and begging for food has to be fed? Because that's how we found him. Not with his raven parents, but with two very watchful black crows in his neighborhood. So this was the lost cub.

Countless small insects

We kept observing the trio for a while and to our big surprise we saw one of the crows pushing food into the beak of the raven. The crow's head almost disappeared into that big raven's beak! The youngster pressed itself a bit against the ground, so the much smaller foster parent could reach it. Kroa-kroa showed the young, flapping its wings. And it didn't stop there, both crows kept dragging countless small insects. One of the two stayed near the young foraging in the grass, while the other flew to a field further away and came back again.

On closer inspection, it turned out that the clutter was only hanging on a toenail. And three days later we saw that it had fallen off, fortunately. The raven is outlawed and has caring foster parents. A special sighting!