Crows caught in strange acts with dead birds

Crows have recently been documented engaging in activities with dead crows. ©cuatrok77

For the first time, biologists noted American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) touching, attacking and attempting to mate with dead crows. Kaeli Swift, a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington, discovered this while showing one of her experiments to a film crew where she left a stuffed taxidermy crow on the ground. She was surprised to see a nearby crow attempting mating with the dead crow. Previous research showed crows sense danger when they see dead crows on the ground, but this new finding adds a twist, researchers say. They think the odd behavior may be caused by hormonal fluctuations that cause some crows confusion when responding to stimuli.

Read about this in the New York Times or read the study here in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.