Day 178–The Gray Wolf and Wolf Birds


I was lucky enough to meet some Gray Wolves while visiting Yellowstone. They are a little dear to my eagle heart for a couple reasons:

1) Like the Philippine Eagle, wolves are apex predators and are often persecuted by humans (another apex predator!) for this.

2) Gray wolves are bird lovers. Well, at least they are fans of ravens. Ravens are sometimes called the ‘wolf bird’, as almost always, where you find a wolf, you will find a raven (not vice versa though, there are far too few wolves for that).

Ravens need wolves to tear into thick hides of carcasses their formidable beaks cannot penetrate. Wolves often follow ravens to a carcass they may not have found without an aerial guide. The wolves rip into the dinner, and the ravens steal all they can off the side.

Some scientists have even suggested that the reason wolves form packs is to better enable themselves to chase off these birds, as a lone wolf can lose up to %66 of his meal to thieving wolf birds!

This doesn’t lead to an overwhelming amount of animosity, as scientists have observed wolves and ravens playing together! A study conducted in Yellowstone suggests there is a certain amount of trust between the two, as ravens, normally a cautious bird, will wait for other conspecifics to approach and consume a meal before scavenging, but will dive right in when a wolf is their dining partner.

Recently, wolves have entered into a wildlife management debacle that may significantly damage their return to the lower 48.

Take some time to read up on the conservation conundrums that face nature’s most exhilarating animals. If we can’t come to an agreement on how to live and share resources with wolves, lions, bears, eagles, or even each other, I’m not quite sure we can conserve anything!

Wolf Bird


4 thoughts on “Day 178–The Gray Wolf and Wolf Birds

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