Crows pestering street cats by pecking their tails. Why?

Crows pester cats
Crows pester cats. Screenshot.
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These well viewed videos show what appears to be house crows winding up one cat by pecking his tail to instigate a fight with another cat. But I don’t see it that way.

In the first video we see two cats and two crows. One crow is trying to peck the tail of one of the cats. At the same time the other cat is slowly approaching the cat being pestered by the crow.

Two things are clear (1) the crow does not actually get near enough to peck the cat’s tail and (2) the black cat wants a fight and is about to start one for territorial reasons.

I see two separate events (1) crows pestering a cat and (2) cats fighting over a home range. I don’t see a connection between these two events. Although it looks like there might be a connection because all the ‘players’ (two crows and two cats) are together.

The more logical reason as to why the crow is trying to peck the tail of the cat is to make him go away. And the reason the crow wants to cat to go away is to protect the crow’s food source. These animals are competing for resources.

Cats are carnivores and crows are omnivores. Crows will eat cat food and meat. There is an overlap between cats and crows in respect of diet.

Second Video

In the second video we see something similar. Two cats about to have a fight over territory and one crow pecking the tail of one of the cats which irritates him. Once again I don’t see a connection between what the cats are about to do (and then do) and the crow’s behaviour.

I believe that the crow wants the cats to disappear to protect food supplies. In this second video the black cat wants the other to disappear too because he believes that it is his home range. There may also be a food supply issue here among the cats. This leads to a violent fight between the two.

The guy who runs the Why Evolution is True website believes the crows might be smart enough to instigate a cat fight for entertainment by pecking tails but I think he is incorrect. It is more basic than that. It’s about competing for resources.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Crows pestering street cats by pecking their tails. Why?”

  1. Same for the second video. The crow is trying distraction again, to prevent the fight.

    Stopping a cat fight before it starts is notoriously tricky, it is easy to get the moment for action wrong and cause the fight to start.

    I think corvids are more likely to try and stop a fight starting. It is not unusual for corvids to form relationships with local resident cats, even a distant one.

    A friend of ours calls the hundreds of Jackdaws that live opposite us, the Neighbourhood Police. I agree with him.

  2. It looks to me as if the crows are trying to stop the fight breaking out by distraction. Maybe they know better than to annoy the instigator (the black cat) this way.

    Corvids are often thought of as cheeky, squabblesome, but they are birds that do not readily carry out pointless aggressive behaviour.

    The corvids are very intelligent, they have complex social relationships within their own kind, other species too.


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