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Thread: Interspecific Interactions Between the Common Raven and the Gray Wolf in Yellowstone National Park

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    a.k.a. Alpensun Ringenwald's Avatar
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    Interspecific Interactions Between the Common Raven and the Gray Wolf in Yellowstone National Park

    Interspecific interactions between the common raven (Corvus corax) and the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming : investigations of a predator and scavenger relationship

    One foraging strategy that scavengers can employ to discover unpredictable food sources is to associate directly with predators who inadvertently provide food. The common raven, a well known feeding generalist, is also a prominent scavenger of wolves’ kills and is found to be in close association with this predator. We tested the hypothesis that ravens preferentially associate with wolves in winter as a kleptoparasitic foraging strategy. The presence, absence and behaviour of ravens was documented during winter observations of wolves, coyotes, Canis latrans, and elk, Cervus elaphus, as well as the landscape in the absence of these three species. Ravens were found to be in close association with wolves when they were travelling, resting and hunting prey. In comparison, ravens showed no significant association with coyotes, elk or areas on the landscape in the absence of wolves. We also compared ravens’ discovery success of wolf-killed and nonwolf-killed carcasses and their behavioural response upon discovery. Ravens found all wolf kills almost immediately and remained at the carcass to feed alongside wolves after the death of the prey. In contrast, ravens were less successful discovering experimentally placed carcasses in the same study region, and did not land or feed despite the availability of fresh, exposed meat. Our results show that ravens’ association with wolves is not just an incidental and proximate by-product of the presence of fresh meat. Instead, we show that ravens preferentially associate with wolves in both the presence and absence of food, resulting in the discovery of carcasses and suppression of ravens’ innate fear of novel food sources. Through this mode of social foraging, ravens may experience increased foraging efficiency in the use of an otherwise spatially and temporally unpredictable food source.
    https://www.researchgate.net/profile...ication_detail

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    This is unsurprising to say the least. In folklore they are always reckoned together for a reason. Ravens need a large scavenger to open a carcass - unlike large vultures.

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    Ravens are common here and especially near a lake in the winter. Ravens think they are the smartest animal alive. Sometimes they taunt my dog Star. They sit around and fail to move until he is within touching distance, then the flit away a few feet further and begin again. They do this to coyotes and the coyotes just ignore them. But this behavior sometimes pisses off Star. Star is extremely physically capable, catching birds and fish. So once while this was happening, Star moved upwind from these two birds, pretending not to care, then wheeled. The birds had to take off into the wind. Star jumped and snatched a raven out of the air. There was nothing I could do. He ate the raven he caught in front of the other raven, bones, feathers, internal organs, crunching down the bones like someone eating pretzels.

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