We report details of 3 food caches created or retrieved by a pair of Common Ravens (Corvus corax) near their active tree nest in the Pattee Canyon Recreation Area, Missoula County, Montana, during spring of 2016. Caches were located in 3 different 30–35 m tall Ponderosa Pines (Pinus ponderosa). Caches were pieces of meat placed 1.0–1.5 m from the trunk on large lateral limbs at least 20 m above ground, and were 70–100 m from the nest tree. One cache was created by the non-incubating adult early in the incubation phase of nesting, and probably was fed to the incubating adult by its mate. The other 2 caches were retrieved early in the nestling phase, at least 1 of which was delivered directly to the brood at the nest. At least 2 of the caches were hidden under pieces of bark and lichen placed on the cached meat, probably to reduce likelihood of their detection and theft by other forest birds and mammals. The tree caches shared some characteristics of ground caches created elsewhere by nesting Ravens: (1) caches were within 100 m of nests; and (2) caches were often hidden or covered with vegetation. These appear to be the 1st published observations of tree caches created and retrieved by Common Ravens near their active nest. Our observations also suggest that caches may be used by the adults to feed themselves as well as their young.
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Vol. 98 • No. 3