So Sweet

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Crows in the park are notoriously nasty to other species — check what they did to White-tailed Kite fledglings — but can be exceptionally sweet to one another. Crows are one of the few species of birds that preen one another. Here, way up high in the Guadalupe Island Cypress tree in the Native Plant Area, a pair of crows perched close together. The larger, probably the male, gently runs his beak through the head and neck feathers of the female, who tilts her head to give him better access. Sometimes he just kind of scratches her, then again it looks like he found something like a mite or a louse (all birds have parasites) and picks it out. Ornithologists call this “allopreening,” meaning one bird preening another. One study of allopreening in birds suggests that this behavior strengthens stable pair bonds across years. However, researchers found no strong evidence that allopreening increases sexual fidelity within seasons or time spent together outside the breeding season.

For another video of one crow preening another in the park (maybe the same pair), click this.

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

More on crows: Wikipedia Cornell Audubon In Chavez Park

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