Corvids Hunting Monarch Butterflies for Sport
While working in Santa Cruz, Mike Murphy witnessed a strange phenomenon. He noticed a large band of crows hanging around the trees near where hundreds of monarch butterflies have been overwintering since October 2015. When he first saw them chasing and hunting the monarchs, he knew right away that he should get out his camera phone. To our knowledge, the following video of this fascinating case of monarch predation is the first of its kind.
With enough hungry crows lurking nearby, the overwintering monarchs are virtually sitting ducks. However, as you can see from the video – the crows are not often successful in their sport. It takes many diving and swooping attempts before they can maneuver for a successful hit.
Meanwhile, the crows are definitely in it for some sport. Their strategy seems to be to disturb the docile monarchs into activity – and then take turns attempting to snatch them out of mid-air. This is definitely one of the downsides of congregating in the same locations, year after year. Thanks Mike for sharing this fabulous bit of nature footage. We’re all the wiser!