Crows vs. eagles in Merville: The winner isn’t what you’d think, yet

Crows vs. eagles in Merville: The winner isn't what you'd think, yet

Perhaps too smart for their own good, a couple of crows have built a nest for their young in the last place you’d expect them to in Merville, north of Courtenay.

“We actually have a nest being built by crows and they have young hatchlings inside the flight pen. So we’re talking about a scavenger coming into the house of a top predator,” said MARS Wildlife Rescue president Warren Warttig.

The nest was built in the rafters of the flight pen currently home to two big bald eagles at the wildlife facility.

The large raptors are fully aware of the nest and the hatchlings that are in it, which is resulting in quite a bit of commotion.

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As you’d expect, the eagles and crows aren’t getting along, but it’s not as one-side as you might think.

“Eagles, and most raptors, are smart but probably not much smarter than most other birds, or even a one or two-year-old human. But crows and ravens have a cognitive capability equivalent to a seven-year-old human, so they’re even far superior than parrots, dogs, cats all these sorts of things,” said MARS volunteer David Carmichael.

So the crows seemed to actually know what they were doing when they built the nest there. Or did they?

“With the overhead protection of the roof and ceiling they feel it’s a safe spot, they’re not going to have another predator coming in and raiding their nest exactly,” said Carmichael. “And they know the eagle can’t get up and in there but they’re not really planning ahead for when the nestlings start growing bigger and need to begin venturing out. They rafters are only so wide so there’s a chance they’ll fall to the ground and be easy prey for the eagles.”

That’s when things will get dicey. But for now, the crows seem intent on raising their young and agitating the eagles at the same time.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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