• Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Most birds do not live in groups or defend territories year-round. Do you think crows have an easier or harder time getting to be a breeder than other birds?  Why or why not?
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    • Carolyne
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      It's a different strategy that would depend on territories available (or not) and what resources/threats are present at different times. I think that, based on how successful Crows are in general, it is probably working in their favor. Also, they are known to thrive in human habitats so that makes for more territories to exploit. To become a breeder, a juvenile needs to survive the perils of being a juvenile. The group and extended parenting provides that- most other species of birds will have greater juvenile death rates. So yes, probably a better chance to become one, especially if chances for replacements are high.
    • lorna
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Harder time. Crows stay in their family groups longer and need to open up a territory or wait to replace a breeder. Most other birds do this yearly
    • Mike
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      I think that crows have a harder time becoming breeders because they are not as promiscuous as many other bird species who only come together to mate and stay only long enough to defend a nest and raise a brood.  The crow also seems to have a complex social system that relies on longevity and close ties to a family unit unlike more prolific and unattached bird species.  Crows also tend to be more sedentary and not migrate like other birds.  They do not seem to have the same desire to venture very far from their homes and the home may be limited in opportunities to carve out territories that can support expansion.
    • Shiny
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      I am not sure, but I think it's harder in the beginning, and once they have waited they become really successful because they spent a lot of time waiting and learning They also have a lot of choices which benefits them.
    • Becky
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I don't know if they have a harder time than other birds, but they probably do have to wait longer. And they live in a complex social structure with lots of variables. On the other hand, they get lots of practice helping to raise young before they breed on their own. And when they do breed, they presumably get help as well, from the family group.
    • The fact that many birds have to wait several years before breeding (graph seen earlier in the course), and that some crows have to settle for shared parentage or joining unrelated groups, makes me think it is more difficult for crows to become full breeders. I suspect this is generally the case in cooperative breeding systems, which is why they have evolved: it is better to play some role in helping raise related birds (kin selection) than to not have the opportunity to breed at all. I think the points that everyone has spoken to such as a greater selection of breeding strategies, crows being generalists, and crows living in community would lead to greater reproductive success.
    • John
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Judging by the number of crows that can be seen or heard in the area where I live, one would think it is easier for crows to achieve breeding status. But, that may be a situation where it would be more difficult. If there is a large population present in an area, then the waiting list to find a mate would be long with competition of older birds waiting for breeding territory.  Males have more opportunity to inherit than females as females rely on replacements as breeding strategy. So, in heavily populated areas females would find it more difficult to breed than males, thus they would leave to find new or replacement territory. Males may find it easier to mate as there are more options for them to stay in a native territory.
    • Gracklefeeder1
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Sounds to me like they're quite human. :D In the old days people stayed with their mother and father until they married and had a family of their own. Those who never married stayed home to help the parents. That's what this dynamic reminds me of.
    • Kurt
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      The size, range, and lifestyle of the crow definitely give it an easier time over certain other birds for breeding. Crows are generalists, which means they can do many different things, and survive in different environments. Crows stick with their parents and with their families, allowing them to hold territories. The territory of a crow might also be something not particularly appealing to other birds, like cities, cemeteries, or college campuses. Crows can take on the role of a breeder with more ease than other birds, and have more options available to them (inherit, move, pair-up, share).
    • They seem to have more choices than alot of other species and always seem to find a home someplace.    Since they can live in just about any environment and have a wide range of diet that finding a new territory shouldn't be too much of a problem.  So I would think it would be easier to be a breeder.
    • I would pick the term complex rather than easy to understand describe the route to becoming a breeder.  The social structure and behavior leaves more options, more flexibility.  As is true for many species (not only birds), an offspring who spends longer periods with the core family does not only get stronger but also acquires more skills, which may well be the route to success.
    • Gwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      I think they definitely have an easier time breeding. they can stay at home to grow big and strong before going out to find a mate, or you can find and join a group of crows to join with to be more competitive with land and they can share mates.
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Easier time breeding than other species.  They can stay home and get stronger and wiser while at the same keeping their eye on the neighbors just in case.  They can seek a new territory of their own.  The can join a sibling and co-parent.  They, in fact, have a Greg at deal of choice.  The males may be better off from the females!
    • Ruth
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      I agree with other great answers here!  It's certainly hard to see how this familial and larger communal system -- in addition to the option to establish new territory as other birds do -- wouldn't benefit up-and-coming breeders for choice as well as providing opportunities to strengthen and sharpen skills for success while they might wait for an opening.
    • It may be easier for crows because they have two options.  They can look for new territory and may get lucky or if not they can always go home.  For other birds their only option is to look for new territory and there is not an option to be accepted back into a group.
    • nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      easier, as they have more support from their family
    • Li
      Participant
      Chirps: 33
      Easier.Because they have more choices than other birds.
    • Daniel
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I’d say that it would be easier due to American Crows having more options available to them, in terms of territories.
    • Alex
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      What is the average size of a crow's territory?
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      All in all, I think crows have an easier time to become a breeder. Between their longevity and lack of long distance migration, they have more time and energy to breed during their lifespan.
      • nancy
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        those attributes do help make becoming a breeder easier.
    • Alicia
      Participant
      Chirps: 24
      Although crows may have to wait their turn, it may be easier due to the variety of options available to them as compared to other birds.
    • Via
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      Easier, because they have many more choices than other birds.
    • Rachel
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Easier because they have more choices than other birds.
    • Dee
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      There are more options for them to become breeders but they need to wait longer.  Also, by the time they could be breeders there is a lot of competition,