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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.
P.A. Swamps Inc.
aka. Vertebrate palaeontology labs
University of Queensland
where everything of any interest happened, eh, Paul?