Movement patterns of juvenile birds are poorly understood, yet critically important ecological phenomena, especially for species with a prolonged juvenile period. We evaluated postfledging movements of juvenile common ravens (Corvus corax) in a western Mojave Desert landscape composed of a mosaic of natural and anthropogenic elements. Generally, ravens do not begin breeding until after their fourth year. We marked 2 annual cohorts of juvenile ravens and followed them from dispersal from their natal territory for up to 33 months. Movements of juvenile common ravens were similar for males and females. Conspecifics and confined livestock feeding operations represented important resources for juvenile ravens, and juveniles were rarely located in open desert. However, initial movements from the natal territory to the nearest communal point subsidy rather than the closest anthropogenic resource suggested juvenile dispersal was influenced by the combination of conspecifics and anthropogenic resources, rather than the distribution of those resources. Land managers concerned with growing raven populations should reduce access to concentrated anthropogenic resources such as landfills and dairies, which serve as important resources for juveniles. Because juvenile ravens rarely venture into open desert, reducing their numbers by lethal removal or other means is unlikely to lessen raven predation of desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii).
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Movements of juvenile common ravens in an arid landscape