START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
2,604,488 people care about Environment & Wildlife

6 Scary Truths About Crows (Video)

6 Scary Truths About Crows (Video)

What do you know about crows?

Maybe you’ve heard some of the dark beliefs: that if you see a crow flapping its wings, it means a big accident is about to happen? Or that if a crow is sitting on top of a house with a red thread in its beak, you should summon the fire department, because the flames aren’t far behind?

Crows have also long been associated with death in many cultures, because they often could be found feeding on animal and human remains at battlefields or cemeteries.

On the other hand, many American Indian tribes saw the crow as a wise adviser and the spirit of wisdom and the law.

At the University of Seattle, a new study by artist Angell and biologist Marzluff has brought together some surprising information on these dark creatures.

From The New York Times:

Crows and ravens work together. A pair of ravens at the North Cascades Institute learned to “herd” crossbills down a passageway between buildings. “Elvis, a male raven would … rush the crossbills down a corridor between buildings, and his mate would intercept their progress and turn them into the glass windows. Stunned crossbills littered the ground afterward until Elvis and his mate grabbed mouthfuls to eat and cache for later dinners, ” the authors write.

Crows can tell time if not by a watch, by other prompts. The authors write of a dozen wild crows at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo who followed a feeding ritual. Once a week (noon Friday), Humboldt penguins got a treat live fish. The crows learned to mass well ahead of time; they knew the routine and “beat the keepers to their posts by a few minutes” picking off the penguins’ treats.

Here are a few more that may intrigue you:

* Crows can use tools. Corvids, which includes crows and ravens are supposedly amongst the most intelligent of birds. The New Caledonian Crow of the South Pacific, for example, reportedly makes complicated hooked tools out of leaves and twigs to probe in hold for food and even stores the tools for later use.

Crows have emotions, such as anger and attachment. They have been known to pay their respects to the dead, visiting a fallen comrade whether to mourn, identify their fellow flock member or evaluate the new pecking order in the flock is impossible to say.

Crows and other corvids have amazing memories. Corvids are able to remember thousands of individual locations. The species that rely most on caches, such as nutcrackers and jays, can remember for months tens of thousands of locations where they hide seeds each year.

Finally, from cracked.com:

* Crows can remember your face.

Researchers in Seattle performed an experiment with some crows around their college campus. They captured seven of the birds, tagged them, then let them go. And they did it all while wearing creepy skin masks, because it was funny:

OK, so the scientists weren’t just playing out horror movie fantasies — they were testing whether the crows could recognize human faces or not. It turns out they can. To a frightening degree: Whenever the scientists walked around campus with the masks on, the crows would “scold” and dive-bomb them… because along with the ability to recognize us as individuals, the researchers also learned that crows can hold a grudge.

And pretty soon, it wasn’t just the first seven crows reacting. Other birds, ones that hadn’t even been captured in the first place, started dive-bombing the scientists as well.

(….)

Pretty soon, every single crow on the campus knew which masks meant trouble, and wanted the guys wearing them dead. When they didn’t wear the masks, however, the crows left them alone, because even they can’t see through disguises … yet.

So now you know: do not believe Aesop’s fable about the fox and the crow, in which the fox outsmarts the crow. It’s probably not true!

 

Related Stories

6 Species Proving Animals Aren’t The Only Intelligent Ones On The Planet

Pet Pig Raids Fridge (Video)

Elephants Ace Intelligence Test

Read more: , , , , , , , ,

Photo Credit: Lance & Cromwell (home safe-pictures coming)

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

203 comments

+ add your own
3:07AM PST on Feb 26, 2013

I forgot to say that when I reappeared in motorbike 'disguise; I was not holding grass, so the birds were reacting to the sight of me, not food.

3:04AM PST on Feb 26, 2013

I've known for some time that crows are very intelligent, but I thought chickens were supposed to be dumb. On my daily walk I used to pass some very attractive chickens and stopped to admire them. They took no notice until the day I appeared with some greenery in my hand. They were up to the wire in a flash! So every day, because they had eaten all the grass in thier run, I used to pick some for them, and they were always up to the wire to see me.

Then I didn't go for a long time. When I did, I was wearing a motrbike helmet and heavy jacket. Disguise? No! They recognised me straight away!

So when visiting a home with a number of dogs in a pen that I had last seen some months earlier I expected them to know me. No! |They treated me as a strnager. Apparently chickens can be smarter than dogs!

6:30PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

thanks for sharing the info but to bad the video is no longer available..

1:23PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

Well there you go, amazing.

10:47AM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

It makes me appreciate the species choices to represent ethnic groups in R Crumb's 'Fritz the Cat' more.

1:14PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

awesome info. im ornithophobic though. shiver

10:37PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

Crows are just being crows- are they any worse than people?

8:45AM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

great video and article, thanks for sharing and voted :)

3:35AM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

"Die Größe eines Volkes und seine moralischen Fortschritte können daran gemessen werden, wie es seine Tiere behandelt."

Those who are cruel to animals cannot be righteous human beings.

Wer gegen Tiere grausam ist, kann kein guter Mensch sein.

12:12AM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

I have seen a crow poking fun of cats , sneaking up (flying down from behind) and poking them on the tail ,by the time the cat turned around ,the crow flew to a near by branch, this went on for about ten , fifteen minutes ,at the end the cats walked away ...The crow wanted to eat the cats' food left out in a city square corner .

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

Hey, if the straights are OK with The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, which are a total mockery of marriage,…

The Ruling class Dimwitocrats love enrolling as many citizens as they possibly can in Medicaid, It's…

This is nothing but a scam. For it to work being gay would have to be a choice. The thinking people…

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free

more from causes




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.