Science News

Crows eat food thrown away and suffer from high cholesterol

Wild urbanization is causing raven health problems according to a new study published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications. Even crows, like other animal species, resort to the rubbish we throw away to survive: they have learned, over the decades, to feed on the food scraps of human beings, which is leading them to live more and more. permanently in the cities.

In particular, this study suggests that this diet is leading to crows being characterized by higher levels of cholesterol in the blood: in “crows” it is much higher than those living in the countryside or in areas less densely inhabited by humans.

The discovery was made by researcher Andrea Townsend and her colleagues at Hamilton College. In fact, researchers measured cholesterol levels in the blood of 140 small American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) that lived in rural or urban environments in California. They then returned to measuring these rates after they had grown up. They discovered that the more the environment they lived in was urban, the higher the cholesterol in the blood.

To confirm this, they also provided a few regular crow cheeseburgers in some crow farms living in rural New York. They then measured their cholesterol level and compared it to that of neighboring crows that had not assimilated this junk food.

The crows that had eaten cheeseburgers showed higher cholesterol levels, similar to those of “urban” crows in California.