Jan 22, 2010

Ohhhh, Shiny!

I suppose he is the hardest lot that wears feathers. Yes, and the cheerfulest, and the best satisfied with himself. He never arrived at what he is by any careless process, or any sudden one; he is a work of art, and "art is long"; he is the product of immemorial ages, and deep calculation; one can't make a bird like that in a day.  Mark Twain

The video above doesn't do this murder of crows justice. This is the big field next to my office. There were hundreds of huge crows in these trees. You can hear them carrying on. I've always liked crows.

Crows can recognize people and can pick them out in a crowd. Even after years. We however, can not distinguish one crow from another.  That crow is watching you!

Crows gather in large groups in the winter to sleep together in the trees. They have recently been migrating into cities and towns from more rural areas. There are a number of reasons they think this is happening. Cities are warmer and cities/towns have trees that grow very tall. Crows like very tall trees.

Crows can be taught to speak and contrary to the myth you don't have to split their tongues in order for them to do it. A crow at the zoo in Traverse City Michigan very clearly said "Hello" to me. Of course he did it when nobody else was around and wouldn't do it again when I brought them all back. Crows have a sense of humor.

Crows are one of the most intelligent birds. They not only use tools to get food, they use a combination of tools in sequence to get what they want. A study of crows found they figured out how to use a short stick to open a box to get a long stick that could be used to get some food from the bottom of a hole.


  1. I have always loved crows, they are indeed truly smart. Every winter as we drive through Hartford on our way to my inlaws in NY I see literally thousands gathering along the river. I've been to look up why at they're at that particular place, it's really neat to watch them all flying towards the same spot from every direction.

  2. The crows in North Idaho are the size of dogs. They are smart....they travel in threes....two do the scavenging and one is a lookout, then one changes place with the lookout so that one can feed. They can take a suet cage down in one swoop, open the clasp and then carry the suet cake away to share. I don't like their caw at night however....and they are out at night here.

  3. I have never given crows much thought before. Interesting bit of learning here.

  4. The crows we have here in Australia are native to here bit similar I am sure - very intelligent - I think all crows are members of the Raven family - and are connected with the celtic mythology. The morrigan I think.
    From Wikipedia
    "The Morrígan ("terror" or "phantom queen") or Mórrígan ("great queen") (also known as Morrígu, Morríghan, Mor-Ríoghain, sometimes given in the plural as Morrígna) is a figure from Irish mythology who appears to have once been a goddess, although she is not explicitly referred to as such in the texts.

    She is associated with sovereignty, prophecy, war, and death on the battlefield. She sometimes appears in the form of a crow, flying above the warriors, and in the Ulster cycle she also takes the form of an eel, a wolf, and a cow. She is generally considered a war deity comparable with the Germanic Valkyries, although her association with cattle also suggests a role connected with fertility, wealth, and the land.

    She is often depicted as a triple goddess,[1][2][3] although membership of the triad varies; the most common combination is the Badb, Macha and Nemain, but other accounts name Fea, Anann, and others.[4]

  5. Wow, I had no idea about all this! Thanks for sharing this fascinating info--now I think I will appreciate our loud winter birds (crows) more than I have before. Thanks again. :)

  6. I have great admiration for crows.
    I have seen them working in tandem to get what they want..Great Twain quote by the way!

  7. I hate crows more than I can say because the frickers make themselves a huge metropolis in the lot next door. They are SO loud and will not shut the hell up even when you ask them.

    That said, there's a GREAT great story of smart crows somewhere among the TED conference talks. We all know they're smart, but they apparently have a remarkable memory and a strong urge for vengeance. Eeeek.

  8. Kate - Not a sight for somebody who was frightened by Hitchcock's "The Birds".

    Rosemary - They just draw your attention. So full of purpose.

    Mom - There was so much more I could have added but I was starting to feel like the Discovery Channel.

    MC - Have you read "Mists of Avalon"?

    MHP - You're welcome. I didn't add that my fascination started young and stems from my father telling us he had tamed a wild crow as a pet. I always wanted one but the wild crows wouldn't give me the time of day. After reading up on crows I now think that crow had a pet Dennis.

    Sling - I think Twain would have started out as a blogger if he had lived in our times. Aren't bloggers modern day essayists?

    Booda - No.... crows are awesome. Well, I guess it's all a matter of perspective. I suppose if I had to listen to their sharp, insistent cawing round the clock I might feel differently?

  9. Sob sob I know Crows are cleverer than me... I tired how I tried...but there it is they are cleverer than me sob sob