Do crows have an impact on the population of their prey?

December 15, 2014, Wiley

They steal, raid nests, and keep the company of witches, but the unpopular crow may not be as big a menace as people think. A new Ibis study has found that crows—along with their avian cousins the magpie and the raven—have surprisingly little impact on the abundance of other bird species.

Collectively known as corvids, these birds are in fact being menaced by mankind in the mistaken belief that removing them is good for conservation.

"These results have big implications for the likely benefits of corvid control," said senior author Dr. Arjun Amar. "They suggest that killing corvids will be of most benefit to those interested in gamebird shooting rather than conservationists."

Explore further: Short-term memory of crows relies on different neural mechanisms than humans

More information: Madden, C. F., Arroyo, B., Amar, A. (2015), A review of the impacts of corvids on bird productivity and abundance. Ibis, 157: 1-16. DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12223

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