About the Population

You want to know about the crow study?  We will be updating this soon!  For now, here's stuff from Kevin McGowan's website:


I have been studying crows (both American and Fish) in the Ithaca area since the summer of 1988, and marking birds since 1989 (color bands only in '89). Before that I spent two years in Tampa, Florida casually studying Fish Crows while I finished my Ph.D. dissertation on Florida Scrub-Jays. I am trying to gather data on social behavior and reproductive biology on both these poorly-studied species. Originally I wanted to understand why American Crows have a complex system of helpers and Fish Crows do not. In order to begin to answer that question I had to have data on life history parameters such as reproductive success, survival, movements and associations. Little information was available in the technical literature, and what was there appeared conflicting. In order to gather such data I needed to have some way to know individual crows as individuals, hence the tags and bands. In the process of gathering those data I have become interested in a number of other aspects of their lives. Because the birds are so long-lived and delay breeding for up to 5 or 6 years (so far), only now am I getting sufficient sample sizes to be able to say anything about attainment of breeding success and dispersal.

The main objectives of the study have been to obtain data on:
  • Nesting success, subsequent survival, and factors influencing them.
  • Movements of crows through a season. (Do they hold territories? Are the territories permanent? Do they migrate?)
  • Associations of individuals and permanence of associations. (How long do families stay together? Do families move as units in larger flocks?)
  • Dispersal for breeding.
  • Consequences and possible causes of helping (Who helps? What do they do? How long do they do it? etc.)
  • A comparison of Fish and American Crows, and urban and rural American Crows. Crows have only used cities for a relatively short time, and I am looking to see if cities are centers of production or ecological traps.
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