Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Something to Crow About

Over the past four years Adele and I have made friends with a couple of crows that live fairly near us. Crows tend to get a bad press; they aren't the villains that folklore has made them out to be. On the contrary they are extremely intelligent and funny creatures. At first they were shy, no doubt because it pays to be wary of human beings (humans have tricked crows for centuries), but now they are much more confident and will approach quite close.

We have named this pair Asoka and Astarte. I have no idea what they call themselves. They nearly always turn up when we appear, which is an indication of trust, I guess. There is a large community of beach crows not too far away and Asoka and Astarte take part in the activities of those crows too. But at the moment they seem particularly concerned with chasing rivals out of their territory, especially magpies; and yet a jay turned up yesterday and they all seemed to tolerate each other. There is a game that Asoka plays with a local squirrel which involves encouraging the squirrel to charge at him before he hops over its head.

Crows are great; the most intelligent of all the birds, apparently!

I read an article in The Guardian claiming that crows can remember human faces; somebody (a crow specialist?) conducted research that came to the conclusion that crows recognise the faces of humans who have been kind and fed them, and also recognise the faces of those who have been cruel to them.

Crows (along with owls) are my favourite birds!
Oh, I also read somewhere that Crows can fashion rudimentary tools (they use twigs to poke grubs and insects out of the soil).

Amazing; three-cheers for Crows!
Yes, and they can even use one tool to fashion another tool if the original tool isn't suitable for their purposes! Now that's clever!
They are an inventive lot, where do you think crowbars came from?
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