Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Crows on the Massachuetts Turnpike

Researchers for the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (or MTA) recently found over 200 dead crows near greater Boston, and there was concern that they may have died from Avian Flu. A bird pathologist was called in to examine the remains of all the crows and, to everyone's relief, confirmed the problem was definitely not Avian Flu. The cause of death appeared to be vehicular impacts.

However, during the detailed analysis it was noted that varying colors of paints appeared on the bird's beaks and claws. Analysis of these paint residues determined that 98% of the crows had been killed by impact with trucks, while only 2% were killed by an impact with a car.

MTA then hired an Ornithological Behaviorist to determine if there was a cause for the disproportionate percentages of crows killed by trucks versus cars.

The Ornithological Behaviorist very quickly established the cause: When crows eat road kill, they always have a look-out crow in a nearby tree to warn of impending danger.

The conclusion was that while all the lookout crows could say "Cah!", none could say "Truck!".