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The crow family is the bis - note the ubiquity of ravens in various 
mythologies (e.g. Morag, the raven war goddess of the Celts).  And I've 
always thought that European magpies look just like how I imagine 

Dave (on Delphi), if you can support your observations (and 'prove'your 
interpretations) then you've got a definite Nature paper...But don't you 
think the other birds are just exploiting the crows' superior early 
warning system? (i.e. they are behaving as commensalists).  Is they any 
evidence that the crows are paying unneccessary costs for the benefit of 
the sparrows? Even if not, you have still hit upon an interesting 
phenonemon, which has been used to account for many mixed species herds 
today and probably in the Mesozoic too.

Colin McHenry

P.A. Swamps Inc.
aka. Vertebrate palaeontology labs
Dept Zoology
University of Queensland
St Lucia
Qld 4072
where everything of any interest happened, eh, Paul?