Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Hugo Bekle

Abstract

Habitat destruction as a result of urbanisation has resulted in the population decline of some bird species. However, the Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides), has adapted well to the urban environment and is thriving. Although naturally occurring seasonal food sources are at times restricted in an urban setting, this adaptive species finds alternative food sources. As carrion-eaters this includes roadkill, as well as refuse discarded on the ground and into bins. Coupled with few natural predators, the species enjoys optimal conditions for breeding and survival. This biogeographical study investigated whether seasonal-influxes of populations of ravens cause problems at three urban wetland parks in the City of Gosnells, Western Australia. Past complaints included reports of damaging property, stealing food, attacks on pets and other birds and wildlife, notably their young. This multi-faceted investigation of the Australian Raven explores the impacts of the species on other birds and wildlife, as well as people. It also investigates contemporary beliefs and attitudes to the species. It examines seasonal fluctuations in population densities and distribution of the species at the sites and identifies their main daily activities and interactions with other birds and animals. Finally, it explores the level of community support for population control of the species. Interestingly, the final results do not support commonly held beliefs that ravens are vicious predators. Their main daily activities are identified as perching in trees, picking at bark and leaves, foraging on the ground for food and to a lesser extent, drinking, bathing and preening. Although acts of predation of other birds, egg stealing and food stealing were witnessed during the study, they were few and no attacks on domestic animals, or acts of property damage were recorded for the study. The research concluded that there are populations of Australian Ravens present at all sites that fluctuate seasonally. It also identified the biggest problem associated with the Australian Raven is a poor image problem. They are unpopular, considered a sign of a bad omen, both their song and plumage considered unpleasant. But in spite of these negative perceptions the majority of people using the sites do not support population control as a means of managing the abundance of the species.

Included in

Ornithology Commons

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