[Tweeters] Crows and Dogwood Fruit

johntubbs at comcast.net johntubbs at comcast.net
Fri Oct 15 13:19:09 PDT 2010

Hi everyone,

One of the several crows that has been visiting the garden today has been feeding on dogwood fruit in an interesting manner.  The shrub/tree in question is a Cornus kousa flowering dogwood that is more shrubby than treelike, and which has a very large crop of large red fruit resembling red raspberries this fall.  Prior to today, I had seen American Robins grab a few of the fruits and eat them, but nobody else seemed very interested.  Well today several crows have been grabbing them for food.  One of the crows, however, has found a harvesting method that takes less energy.  Instead of landing on the dogwood as a couple of the others do, this bird apparently targets an individual fruit toward the top of the tree, flies at it, and snatches it off the stem while in flight, and then just keeps going with the fruit in its bill.  The others have to land on the slender branches, which then sink under their weight, causing some clumsy flapping and other acrobatics for the bird to grab a fruit, become airborne again and head off to eat the prize.  Clearly the in-flight approach is less consumptive of energy.  If the birds keep after the fruit over the next few days, it will be interesting to see if the other crows adopt the avian 'drive-through' technique. 

John Tubbs

Snoqualmie, WA

johntubbs at comcast.net

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