Crows facts! Hey wait! Don’t close this article. We know that many of you out there are kind of disgusted by these birds because of their annoying habit of targeting and pooping on people.
However, despite that annoying habit of theirs, they are actually cool birds. They are intelligent, they are cleaner birds and they are highly social too! You should absolutely learn these fascinating crow facts before you decide to hate these birds forever.
We are pretty sure that by the end of this article, some of you will say ‘hey, crow is my favorite bird’! Okay, maybe we went too far but we are sure that you won’t hate them as much as you hate them now. So, let us begin…
Crow Facts 1-5
1. Did you know that of all bird species that fly in our skies and live on this planet, the crow has the largest brain-to-body ratio? This explains why they are very intelligent and often outsmart humans.
2. Talking of the brain, their forebrain is very developed. This means that they are intelligent. Why so? Because forebrain is where the intelligence of a creature is regulated.
3. While staying on the subject of the brain, it is worth saying that the anatomy of a crow’s brain is very similar to that of a human brain.
4. Crows can be found in every continent of this planet barring Antarctica. No matter where you go, you will find this bird.
5. The scientific name of crow is Corvus brachyrhynchos. It belongs to the family Covidae and to the genus Corvus.
Crow Facts: 6-10
6. Mexico’s Dwarf Jay is the smallest of all crows found in this world. Dwarf Jay weighs only 40 grams, and grows no more than 21.5 centimeters in length.
7. There are some really big crows. Ethiopia’s Corvus crassirostris or Thick-billed Raven and Corvus corax of the Common Raven are the largest in the crow family, each measuring 65 centimeters in length and weighing 1500 grams.
8. Crows are pretty old. They first appeared during the Miocene Period some 17 million years ago in Oceana and Australia.
9. Guess who is the closest relative of the Bird of Paradise? It is the crow!
10. Crows are omnivores. They eat just about anything that they think is edible (very much like the Chinese). From rotting carcass to worm-infested garbage – everything is a tasty snack for them.
Crow Facts: 11-15
11. Surprise, surprise! A group of crows is known as Murder. Why that weird name? When a sick or heavily wounded crow is about to die, the other crows will gather around and aggressively attack and kill the dying crow quickly. This makes Murder the apt name.
12. Crows maintain only one mate for their entire life. They don’t reach sexual maturity until they reach the age of 2 but some often wait longer to get their soulmate. Once they find their soulmate, it is a lifetime’s bonding!
13. They display what is known as cooperative breeding. What’s that? When a female crow is incubating, other crows (whether soulmate or not) will watch out and protect the incubating female.
14. Both parents take care of the babies and help them with feeding. That may not be weird but this is weird – some of the offspring will actually stay back to look after the next batch of babies.
15. Crows are amazingly social and smart. There can be several Murders. How will a crow know which Murder it belongs to? That’s possible with the help of specialized dialect every Murder develops.
Crow Facts: 16-20
16. Crows are very much capable of remembering faces. In Seattle, a group of scientists wore a specific type of mask and captured seven crows, but later released them. The crows remembered the masks and later, whenever they saw the mask, they attacked.
17. Interestingly, they didn’t attack the researchers when they wore different types of masks. They attacked only the specific type the researchers used for abducting the crows.
18. They didn’t just remember, they actually spread the news among friends. So, when the other crows saw the horror mask (the heard stories of), they attacked too.
19. They don’t forget easily. Two years after the Seattle scientists conducted the experiment, the crows still remembered the mask and attacked again!
20. Hey wait! It is not over yet. The abduction tale actually becomes a crow legend passed on from generation to generation and new younger crows grabbed every detail of the masks.
Crow Facts 21-25
21. Crows have this extraordinary ability to learn adaptive behavior. They know that they can find some tasty snacks from garbage trucks. So, they memorize the routes that the garbage men usually take. Not only that, they usually know which garbage men are cooperative to them.
22. If adaptive learning is not surprising for you, know that if someday you managed to kill a crow or even harass one from your home, the possibilities are high that there are hundreds of thousands of crows out there that know your address.
In Ontario’s Chatham, which is known to be a farming town, something incredible happened. Hundreds of thousands of crows took that route for migration and stopped in that town for some rest. Well, crows aren’t very crop-friendly and that’s something very serious for farmers. So, what happened next?
23. The farmers in that town decided to declare war against crows. There were too many of these black birds and the farmers thought they could kill quite a few. They used guns and bang! They fired! How many crows died? Just one. The rest flew off and what followed was intense cawing. It was not chaos. It was information dissemination.
24. The next thing that happened, the crows did return every year but they flew way higher so that the hunters of Chatham cannot take a shot at them. They remembered it year after year after year.
And… just one crow had to give its life to make the crows realize the danger and remember it forever. You think that’s an isolated event? Think again!
Crows are known to change their migration path completely if one of their kind meets an unfortunate end.
25. And…crows are super analytical. They can solve problems. In an experiment, a few smart scientists decided to tie a piece of meat to a string and then tie that string to a fixed stick. Now, they allowed the crows to try and get the meat. Guess what? Every single crow succeeded. How? Read on…
Crow Facts: 26-30
26. So, the problem was – get the meat! How did the crows react? They came. They sat on the stick. They used one foot to grab the thread and pull it up a bit. Used the other foot to keep the dragged up thread held in position and then used the free feet to pull up the thread even more. They continued this action until the meat was within their reach. That’s smart!
27. Did you read Aesop’s story called ‘The Crow and the Pitcher’? Smartass scientists wanted to know whether the story had any scientific truth or not. So, they placed some crows in a room. They placed some tubes and filled them with some water.
They then dropped worms in those tubes so that the worms kept floating on the water surface, but just out of reach of the crows. Now the scientists also placed some pebbles in that room – big and small pebbles and waited to see.
28. Can you guess what the crows did? Yes! They dropped the pebbles in those tubes so that the water level rises and the worms get closer and closer to their reach. It is not that they just dropped pebbles. They actually figured out that dropping larger pebbles will displace more water and hence they will get the worms quicker.
29. Hold on! There’s more! They can not only use tools, these freaking crows know how to fashion tools and then use them. In another experiment conducted with New Caledonian Crow, its horrific revelation took place.
The scientists kept some food in a small basket and then placed the basket in a tube. They brought two wires which were already made into a hook and another one was straight.
Now, two crows were introduced. One was Betty and another was Abel. Abel took the hook and took off. Betty, on the other hand, took the straight wire, bent it into a hook and then used it to get the food out of the tube.
You think Betty was taught previously? No! Betty encountered a wire for the first time in her life.
30. Let’s get back to the first point – adaptive behavior. Did you know that if the crows cannot crack open a nut, they will drop it and let gravity do the work?
However, if dropping isn’t working, they will use humans. They will take the nut and drop it in front of cars so that the nuts crack open.
More interestingly, they know how traffic lights work and they know exactly when to drop the nuts and when to get them back in order to prevent them from being run over by cars.