I’ve posted before about the generals of crow play behaviors, and it’s something I’m routinely delighted with as the kids of late summer start testing the limits of their world and their peers. Adult play (or what I’m fairy confident are adults) is something I’ve encountered far less often, however. Even more rare is a camera on hand to capture what’s usually a rather fleeting behavior.
You can imagine my excitement then, when yesterday not only was I present to witness either two adults or one adult and one subadult play wrestling in the grass but I also had a camera already rolling. Granted the footage isn’t great (it’s an old camera and they were far away) but you can make out enough to see what’s happening.
Here’s a play by play of them moments leading up to and during the event.
- I had been following a family group of three, presumably composed of two territorial adults and one subadult based on mouth lining color and general behavior (allopreening).
- Two of them were foraging when they joined together and began to roll in the grass.
- No audible calls were given, which I would expect if it had been a malicious attack.
- You can see moments where one crow appears to have the upperhand and then willingly falls to its side to allow a shift in power and continue the play.
- The roughhousing only stopped after the third bird flew overhead and gave a short loud ‘caw’.
- After they disentangled they continued foraging near each other rather then taking chase, another indication that is was mutual and fun rather than antagonistic.
Pretty cool right?!