Of Ravens, Wolves, and People

presented by John Marzluff

John & Matthias netting Raves – Photo courtesy John Marzluff

Ravens are known to scavenge from wolves and people, but the degree to which they exploit these and other sources of food has not been studied in detail. In 2019, Matthias Loretto and John began tagging ravens in Yellowstone National Park with long-lasting GSM transmitters. After tagging >60 ravens and relating their movements to those of people and wolves, they are gaining an appreciation of their reliance on both providers. They will describe the movements of territorial and non-breeding ravens and relate these to wolf- and human-provisioned foods. They will focus on the exploits of individual birds to emphasize variability. They observed ravens using wolf kills, but their discovery appears more incidental than a result of following or purposeful search. As we begin to quantify the relationship between wolves and ravens we may learn more about their synchrony, but at present it appears to be weak, with discovery of kills occurring during the day rather than after communal roosting. Ravens made extensive use of anthropogenic resources, including direct handouts, waste water treatment ponds, dumps, agriculture, roadkills, and hunter offal. Territorial ravens have extensive knowledge of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and exploit areas in excess of 6500 square miles to obtain their yearly needs.

John Marzluff received an undergraduate degree in wildlife biology at the University of Montana. He went on to receive an masters degree and a PhD from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. He has been on the Wildlife Science faculty in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington since 1997. His specialty is on the ecology and behavior of jays, crows and ravens.

The program will be presented through the online Zoom platform on March 8th, 2021, at 7pm Mountain Time (you can hop on at 6:30pm to chat with fellow FAS members). Check your emailed Pileated Post for the link or email us at info@flatheadaudubon.org requesting the link with instructions to connect.

The program is free and open to the public.