ABS 2022
Beyond latencies: multiple measures of neophobia in the American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
Dave J. Colucci, Anne B. Clark. Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, United States

Neophobia is often quantified as the increase in feeding latency after a novel object is added to a feeding site. While useful, latency cannot reveal competing motivations or other ecologically relevant responses. The latency of an unmarked group to feed will reflect the least neophobic individual, but not group dynamics or within-group variation. Here, we attempt to overcome these issues in 20 crow families by analyzing movement and feeding probability. Behavior was measured in three baseline trials with food alone, and in one trial with food and a novel object. In baseline trials, most trips to the experimental area ended in feeding and most crows fed at least once. Increased family size resulted in more trips to the experimental area but did not increase the amount of time spent there. The novel object decreased the number of crows that fed and the proportion of time spent near the food. More trips to the experimental area ended without feeding, but the mean duration of a trip was unchanged. These results suggest low competition among family members, variation in novelty response, and prolonged interaction by some crows that may reflect curiosity as well as fear.