You may remember that in my recent blog post Consider the Grackle … I wondered, given how smart both crows and grackles are, what would happen if both species lived in the same place. Would they squabble, co-operate, avoid each other, form an alliance overthrow humanity, …?
If you were wondering too, read on …..
My first thought, when faced with a crow puzzle, is always to see if Kaeli Swift (crow scientist extraordinare, and author of the fabulously informative blog, Corvid Research) has an answer.
In this case she did not, but she did (naturally) know where to find it.
She took the time to contact the very scientist who’s study about grackle smarts I mentioned in the previous post — Corina Logan.
Corina very kindly wrote back to Kaeli, who passed on her message to me:
“Hello! I just got back from setting up my grackle field site in Arizona, but there weren’t really crows in the city so most of my observations come from Santa Barbara. Crows are generally dominant to grackles (though one of my students saw a grackle displace a crow once), but the crows won’t get as close to humans so the grackle have the advantage there. Grackles often sit on chairs and tables and wait for people to turn their heads or leave the table, and then they steal their food (the cafes have to replace loads of food!). Meanwhile, the crows are sitting in the trees watching all of this. It isn’t until the humans are entirely gone that the crows will come in to eat. I haven’t noticed crows roosting with grackles. And they don’t seem to interact too much in the wild.”
So there we have the answer to my question — scientifically observed in the field.
We also have an illustration of how generous busy scientists can be with their time and information. Thanks so much, Kaeli and Corina!