© 2014 by Barbara Copperthwaite.

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Social climbing

I have just seen a very funny sight: two crows having a row about who will sit on a branch that was impossible for either of them to land on….

Initially, I spotted a Crow trying to sit on the very topmost branch of a tall, thin poplar tree. But every time it tried to land the twig bent and the bird slid off. It wouldn’t give up though, kept on trying to land despite the twig being far too thin to take its weight.

Well, that seemed daft enough – then another crow came in and tried. Why were they both so intent on sitting there? The newcomer also fell off, and the pair proceeded to have a bit of argy bargey, swapping over in their attempts, and sometimes desperately trying slightly lower branches, but unable to settle because they really they wanted that one, thin, upper branch. What was going on?

Then I’m realised: of course, it was an argument over hierarchy. Crows are really hierarchical creatures and where they sit in a tree proclaims their social standing. It’s common sense really, because the ones higher up poop on the ones down below. Isn’t that the way of life, the less powerful you are the more chance you’ve got of being pooped on by someone powerful!

These crows may be about the same level in society and were trying to get one up one each other. It was literally social climbing.

After a good couple of minutes, in the end they finally both gave up, flew off to separate trees and landed on much thicker oak tree branches instead. They both seemed happy with their lot after that!

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