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Ravens: The Wolf’s “Wingman”

Why do wolves tolerate ravens as dinner companions? Could it be that wolves and ravens are hunting partners who share the spoils?

Research by Bernd Heinrich of the University of Vermont demonstrates that ravens and wolves are close collaborators. In fact, his research from Yellowstone Nation Park revealed that during the winter season ravens were located near wolves up to 99.7% of the time! Moreover, at wolf kills, an average of 30 ravens would be present and over 100 have been recorded to share the leftovers. So, wolves do a great job of keeping ravens fed. But what do wolves get out of the relationship?

Heinrich notes instances in Yellowstone in which ravens helped wolves find their next meal by using their raucous calls to alert wolves of nearby injured animals, like elk. Ravens find the prey, ravens alert the wolves, and the iconic predators go in for the easy kill. Both wolves and ravens are rewarded with a meal for their team effort.

Learn more about these clever wolf associates in Heinrich’s book, “Mind of the Raven”. It’s a great read!

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