Metchosin, BC – Photographer Tony Austin snapped a photo recently of crows behaving in what he thought was a peculiar manner. The crow was lying on the ground with its wings splayed out, and appeared to be allowing ants to climb all over itself.
Austin admitted, “I had never seen anything like this. It was rather weird!”
Fellow birdwatchers were equally concerned about the crow’s well-being.
“It wasn’t until some informed birders told us it was “anting” that we lowered our alert level,” Austin added.
First observed in 1830 by James Audobon, anting has been observed in 200 species of bird since.
“Multiple theories exist,” one renowned birder interjected. “One suggests the birds allow the insects to clean them of parasites, while another postulation advocates the vermin secret a formic acid that acts as an insecticide.”
Another bird-watcher piped in, “I think the crows are luring the ants to eventually have them as a meal. It really is anybody’s guess.”
Meanwhile, it is known that crows are extremely intelligent.
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2021 06 08