Country diary: carrion crows become intensely territorial

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Langstone, Hampshire: The most plausible explanation for this attack was resource competition, the crows asserting their dominance to ensure priority access to this prime feeding site

With temperatures plummeting over the past few days, the birds and mammals visiting my garden have begun to forage with increased urgency. Grey squirrels are active before dawn, and I wake to the rhythmic sound of the lid of the squirrel feeder creaking open and snapping shut as they take it in turns to pluck out a nut. Footage from my trail camera revealed that they are often joined in the half-light by our resident carrion crows and magpies.

While I’ve witnessed the magpies sidling up to the squirrels and tugging on their tails in an attempt to steal their food, they tend to give the crows a wide berth, picking at fallen scraps on the periphery of the feeding station while their self-assured cousins take their fill of the choicest offerings.

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