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Thread: Crows at the Side of the Road

  1. #1 Crows at the Side of the Road 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    When did birds start hanging around the shoulder of the road? Why do they do it? Is it an inherited trait, an evolutionary adaptation, an advantage?

    Monday I drove a 180 km stretch of Northern Ontario highway. I hadn't gone a kilometre when I saw a group of crows, 3 in all at the side of the highway. Nothing new, we've all seen birds on road shoulders before but this time I decided to count the number of crows I saw on this trip. All in all I counted 67, from single individuals to as many as 4 at one time. Never saw any road kill at any of these locations.

    I have seen seen crows near dead animals before but since there wasn't any this time I'm thinking the birds are there for another reason, perhaps to pick off bugs that deflect off highway traffic, I'm not sure. Still road shoulders aren't only a crow's favorite, I've seen plenty of other bird species doing the same time thing. They seem to have adapted to vehicular traffic and by my own experience, it's a rare moment if one ever hits a bird with their cars/trucks in these situations. Found this on Google...

    A carrion feeder attempting to forage on a road benefits greatly from an appropriate response to vehicular traffic. in thisobservational study, we tested the ability of American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) to judge the behaviour of fast-movingvehicles and avoid collision on a narrow road. unsurprisingly, American Crows feeding in the same lane as the approachingvehicle always flew off, but interestingly, a significant proportion of American Crows in the opposite lane chose to remain onthe road. in addition, 21% of the American Crows in the same lane as the approaching vehicle walked over to the oppositelane to avoid injury, but none of the American Crows in the opposite lane walked over to the lane in which the vehicle wasapproaching. these are among the first quantitative data indicating that a non-human animal can detect the directionality ofoncoming vehicles on a road and, like humans, actively move out of the way or switch lanes to avoid death based on anunderstanding of the bahaviour of vehicular traffic.




    Doesnt say why they do it unless it's strictly for road kill dining. Would that be the consensus?


    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  3. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    When did birds start hanging around the shoulder of the road? Why do they do it? Is it an inherited trait, an evolutionary adaptation, an advantage?

    Monday I drove a 180 km stretch of Northern Ontario highway. I hadn't gone a kilometre when I saw a group of crows, 3 in all at the side of the highway. Nothing new, we've all seen birds on road shoulders before but this time I decided to count the number of crows I saw on this trip. All in all I counted 67, from single individuals to as many as 4 at one time. Never saw any road kill at any of these locations.

    I have seen seen crows near dead animals before but since there wasn't any this time I'm thinking the birds are there for another reason, perhaps to pick off bugs that deflect off highway traffic, I'm not sure. Still road shoulders aren't only a crow's favorite, I've seen plenty of other bird species doing the same time thing. They seem to have adapted to vehicular traffic and by my own experience, it's a rare moment if one ever hits a bird with their cars/trucks in these situations.


    Doesnt say why they do it unless it's strictly for road kill dining. Would that be the consensus?
    Bugs yes, and worms. There is a certain stretch of road not far from my house that gets lots of big nightcrawlers going over the road and I have seen crows eating them. As a side note, I have seen coopers hawks hunting and eating big crawlers also.

    Plus the gravel for grit (not sure if crows need grit but other birds do).


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    I was taking a windy (=twisty) country road(on the shore line) some months back and started following some kind of a raptor (a hawk or an owl probably).

    Anyway we were doing about the same speed and it was just up ahead.

    I could see it was following the twists of the road itself and wondered why it did that (just coincidence maybe).

    Of course swallows do this all the time(swoop down along the tarmac) and I have imagined that the thermals might have something to do with it (they are a thing of beauty and exhilaration whatever the reason might be)

    When I see crows on the road it is often that they are hopping towards or leaving the scene of some road kill (not my favourite bird so I don't pay too much attention)
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    I think I have read that the mown, short grass strip beside roads is favoured by birds for spotting prey - mice and similar - that would be hidden by longer vegetation. But crows are clever. I would not be surprised if they are hoping for cars to kill larger animals they could not kill themselves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    I think I have read that the mown, short grass strip beside roads is favoured by birds for spotting prey - mice and similar - that would be hidden by longer vegetation. But crows are clever. I would not be surprised if they are hoping for cars to kill larger animals they could not kill themselves.
    hopping?
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    I think I have read that the mown, short grass strip beside roads is favoured by birds for spotting prey - mice and similar - that would be hidden by longer vegetation. But crows are clever. I would not be surprised if they are hoping for cars to kill larger animals they could not kill themselves.
    Could it be they're returning to spots where road kill was once present? Ive heard crow memory is good but I think I'll check it out first.

    edit: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and...-intelligence/
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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