Effect of food patch discovery on the number of American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) using a flight lane
Keywords:American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos, flight lane, winter roost, food patch, communication
AbstractIn winter, American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) move back and forth between night roosts and foraging sites along flight lanes. If communal roosts act as information centres, we would expect more birds to use a particular flight lane after discovery of a new food patch on that route. In this study, I investigated how the number of crows using different flight lanes was affected by the establishment of artificial food patches, as well as how crows responded to multiple days of provisioning and to the location of the food patch relative to the flight lane. After discovery of a food patch, the number of crows using the flight lane closest to it increased, while numbers using adjacent flight lanes remained the same or decreased, particularly when the patch was in the path of the flight lane and when food provisioning occurred for 2 consecutive days. These results support the idea that crows using winter roosts may make use of information on food availability obtained at the roost.
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