I grew up in the suburbs of los angles durring the 1950’s. A crow was a rare sight back then. Startlings were common but seemed to be multiplying rapidly, by the late 1960’s and 1970’s we were over run by them. By the late 60’s crows were becomming more common. By the late 80’s crows were numbering in the thousands and startling populations seemed to be getting noticeably smaller. It seemed by about mid 1990’s the crow and startling population seemed to level out at very acceptable levels. Is it possible the crows predation on the startling provided it with a protien source sufficient for a population boom? The crows have gotten very good at searching out and eating the nests of startlings. Localy crows are being blamed for reduction in song bird populations but over all I think they have been helpful. Now that they seemed to be leveling out songbirds seem to be returning.
Have you actually seen a crow attack a starling nest? Since starlings are hole nesters, I don’t think crows would generally be able to get at them.
At any rate, I don’t think that crow predation on starlings would have any significant effect on either population. Any increase in the crow population in the past is more likely to have been due to the spread of fast food restaurants and more available pickings. More recently, West Nile virus has knocked back crow populations in many areas, since they are more vulnerable than many other birds.
The crows are very good at attacking startling nests. I watch them hunt them out all the time, They will hang upside down and clean the nest out. They get them from under eves, and also signs and metal buildings. Obviously many of the startlings go far enough back that the crows can’t reach them but it was funny how the two populations seemed to flucuate right together, one up and one down then both down.
I have lived near Los Angeles since 1971 and I have never seen a crow. There are plenty of desert ravens and I have seen them go after an injured red tail hawk but they are mostly scavengers.
It appears we have 3 varietes here, common crow, raven and a meiudm size one I have come to knw as a pacific crow. The common crow is the least common while the large raven and intermedediate size bird are the most common.
We’ve had several threads about this in the past. Here’s an article about the increase in crowns in the SF Bay Area.
BTW badger5149 there is only one t in starling.
I apologise for my spelling, I know it is terrible and getting worse with age.
I grew up in the Pomona Valley, east of LA in the 50’s and 60’s, before all the orange groves were cut down, and the sky was black with crows every evening at dusk. Hundreds, if not thousands of crows returned from who knows where to roost in the orange groves. My brother brought home a baby crow that fell out of the nest, and nursed it back to health.
The notion that crows were rare in Los Angeles is false.
They were common in the outskirts but not in the suburbs where I was. By the late 60’s they were showing up a lot more around here than they were in the 50’s when they were almost never seen.
Maybe it was because that was when the orange groves were being cut down to build houses. They had to go somewhere.
I have checked some other forums and it appears other metro areas had large increases in crows at the same time. I need to find out when the starling had it’s major spread.