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 I 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, we are gaining an appreciation of their reliance on both providers. I will describe the movements of territorial and non-breeding ravens and relate these to wolf- and human-provisioned foods. I will focus on the exploits of individual birds to emphasize variability. We 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 is James W. Ridgeway Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington. His graduate (Northern Arizona University) and initial post-doctoral (University of Vermont) research focused on the social behavior and ecology of jays and ravens. He continues this theme investigating the intriguing behavior of crows, ravens, and jays. His current research focuses on the interactions of ravens and wolves in Yellowstone. He teaches Ornithology, Governance and Conservation of Rare Species, Field Research in Yellowstone, and Natural and Cultural History of Costa Rica.
Professor Marzluff has written five books and edited several others. In The Company of Crows & Raven - with Tony Angell (Yale 2005) examines the often surprising ways that crows and ravens adn humans interact. Welcome to Subirdia (2014 Yale) discovers that moderately settled lands host a splendid array of biological diversity and suggests ways in which people can steward these riches to benefit birds and themselves. His most recent In Search of Meadowlarks (2020 Yale) connects our agriculture and diets to the conservation of birds and other wildlife.
Dr. Marzluff has mentored over 40 graduate students and authored over 140 scientific papers on various aspects of bird behavior and wildlife management. He is a member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Recovery Team for the critically endangered Mariana Crow, a former member of the Washington Biodiversity Council, a Fellow of the American Ornithologist's Union, and a National Geographic Explorer.
image By Richard Crossley - Richard Crossley, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26000660