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Re: GANGING CROWS & LIZARDS



Tom,

    You have repeatedly warned participants on this list to "read the actual
papers"
so it surprises me that you are willing to make such a flat out statement about
bird behavior without looking things up.

    I believe the behavior you are looking for has been observed in birds.
I give some selected quotes from a relevant paper that is available on
Kevin McGowan's web site:
 -Gus Derkits

> This article appeared in the JANUARY 1993 issue and is reprinted with 
> permission from
>                   , a publication of The Washington Times Corporation, 
> copyright (c) 1993.
>
> January 1993, vol 8 (1): 243-253.
>
> BIG, BLACK, AND BEAUTIFUL
>
> Kevin J. McGowan
>
 "What appears to be a small flock of birds may well be a cohesive family unit.
Family ties that
 are created when young can last for years.

"On the same winter day that 200 crows may be feeding together in a field of
corn stubble, eight others may descend in a
suburban backyard. While seven probe about the lawn for worms and grubs, one
perches in a nearby tree and remains vigilant.
What appears to be a typical small flock of birds is, in fact, a cohesive family
unit. The group consists of a breeding pair and
their offspring from the last three breeding seasons. The young from the
previous years have remained with their parents and
assisted in raising their brothers and sisters. They have fed the young in the
nest, defended the nest, and one is now guarding the
family while they forage. Some or all of the family may join the large roosting
flock in the evening, or they may sleep on the
territory they maintain throughout the year. Although crows are familiar birds
throughout North America, few people are aware
of the complicated lives these birds lead.

> "During the breeding season some of the young nonbreeding crows in a family 
> assist the breeding pair in a number of tasks.
> Young crows may help build the nest, feed the incubating female, feed 
> nestlings and fledglings, remove fecal sacs produced by
> the nestlings, defend the nest against predators, and defend the territory 
> against intruders. 0nly a handful of other bird species in
> North America exhibit similar behavior, and none is as widespread as the 
> American crow.
>


Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:

> If there is a difference, it should be pointed out.  Of course, there is
> nothing (to my knowledge) PREVENTING birds and other reptiles from forming
> semi-permanent coalitions of kin who cooperate during hunting and
> non-hunting activities, but it isn't observed (to my knowledge).
>