Growth in Common Raven Populations
Common Ravens, the much larger cousins of the American Crow, have been increasing in numbers all across the western US over the past several decades. They are an anthropologically subsidized species (they take advantage of human activities and food), and ravens have transitioned from a bird known as a symbol of the wild to one now associated with towns and people. While ravens are ingrained in human mythology and culture, there are still many aspects of their ecology that remain a mystery. Craighead Beringia South initiated a long-term study of the ecology of the Common Raven in Jackson Hole in 2002 in order to help fill the knowledge gaps. The primary effort during the first five years of the project was to document nesting density, fledgling survival, movements, and the influence of humans on raven demographics.
Recently, behavioral PhD candidate Rhea Esposito began her field investigations on the competition and cooperation in ravens, crows and magpies of Jackson Hole. Her research will investigate how these three related species interact during the breeding season and how adept they are at problem solving in the wild. Craighead Beringia South is helping Rhea with her project for the next several years.