A Murder of Crows
Crow Facts

American Crow in Ontario, Canada.  Photo by J.P. Moczulski © 2009 A Murder of Crows, Inc.

American Crow in Ontario, Canada. Photo by J.P. Moczulski © 2009 A Murder of Crows, Inc.

Crows are members of the Corvidae family, which also includes ravens, magpies, and blue jays. Loud, rambunctious, and very intelligent, crows are most often associated with a long history of fear and loathing. They are considered pests by farmers trying to protect their crops and seedlings. Many people fear them simply because of their black feathers, which are often associating them with death. But research demonstrated in A Murder of Crows proves crows are actually very social and caring creatures, and also among the smartest animals on the planet.

Where do crows live?
Crows live all over the world, except for Antarctica.

What do they eat?
Crows are predators and scavengers, which means that they will eat practically anything. Their diet consists of various road-kill, insects, frogs, snakes, mice, corn, human fast food, even eggs and nestlings of other birds. An adult crow needs about 11 ounces of food daily.

How many species are there?
There are about 40 or so species in the Corvus genus. These range from pigeon-sized birds to ravens, which can be as much as 24-27 inches long.

Social Environment
Crows are very social and have a tight-knit family. They roost in huge numbers (in the thousands) to protect themselves from enemies like red-tailed hawks, horned-owls, and raccoons. Crows also use at least 250 different calls. The distress call brings other crows to their aid, as crows will defend unrelated crows. Crows mate for life.

Close Relatives
The Corvus genus includes the common American crow, ravens, rooks, and other variations, and the wider family (Corvidae) includes jays, magpies, nutcrackers, and other birds.

Crows and West Nile Virus
Crows are susceptible to West Nile virus, and their deaths are used as early indicators of potential human disease in an area. West Nile Virus has killed 45% of American crows since 1999, though they’re still listed as Least Concern species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

What’s a murder of crows?
A group of crows is called a “murder.” There are several different explanations for the origin of this term, mostly based on old folk tales and superstitions.

For instance, there is a folktale that crows will gather and decide the capital fate of another crow.

Many view the appearance of crows as an omen of death because ravens and crows are scavengers and are generally associated with dead bodies, battlefields, and cemeteries, and they’re thought to circle in large numbers above sites where animals or people are expected to soon die.

But the term “murder of crows” mostly reflects a time when groupings of many animals had colorful and poetic names. Other fun examples of “group” names include: an ostentation of peacocks, a parliament of owls, a knot frogs, and a skulk of foxes.

  • Elise Beron

    Has anyone ever seen a real crow in City Park, New Orleans? Would love to see one!

  • Adam Jack

    As a boy I rescued a crow chick that had fallen out of the nest (and I couldn’t return it.) I raised it on dog food (it was a well fed bird) and it grew large. When released it befriended a rook (another corvid) and we saw it around the neighborhood for many year. Wonderful intelligent bird. :)

  • Margaret

    My backyard was visited by a crow with a broken leg this past March. I began feeding it scraps of food on a daily basis and would leave it a dish of fresh water everyday. Before long, I began hearing a knocking sound on my back deck followed by a loud clicking noise. It was my friend knocking her beak on the wooden railing on the deck and would follow the knock by uttering a loud clicking sound. This became her way of letting me know that she was there and hungry. Well, a couple of months passed and she would soon show up with her two young offspring. I had the great pleasure of watching her feed her young and teach them to eat on their own. What was the most interesting to observe is that she would take a piece of bread and hobble over to the water dish and place the bread in the water. With this, she taught her young how to soften the food and eat it on their own. Her young have left my backyard now, but she remains a daily visitor. Her leg has healed well and she is now able to walk on it. I am assuming that this crow is a female, but it could very possibly be a male teaching his young as is the case with my pet lovebirds.

  • Renee Johnson

    I live in Lemay Missouri. Three years ago we had an outbreak of West Nile Virus that killed most of the crows and blue-jay in my area. I am just now starting to see the crows returning in my area. It’s really funny since there are no OLD CROWS to teach the young ones what they need to know.
    This past summer the young crows were acting like juvenile delinquents gone amuck.
    By the end of summer things had normalized somewhat. I never thought I would be happy to see a murder of crows, but I have been.

  • Andrew Wald

    When I visited the Tower of London, one of the staff pointed our the poles in the courtyard upon which the severed heads of the unfortunate victims of the Prisons “Justice System” had been placed. The Royal Ravens had consumed them then, and now, here in our midst were ravens still flying about and perching upon these poles. I wondered then and now, did these modern ravens carry the knowledge of their ancestors, and were they still waiting for a meal?

  • Robbi

    Yes! I spend a lot of time in City Park and have seen crows in various places–the abandoned golf course, outside the Carousel Gardens, and in the field in front of the Sculpture Garden.

  • Judith Welu

    What an interesting show. We live on a lake and love the crows, they clean the dead fish from the beach. They’re so much fun to watch—–they started to eat cat food left for outside cats so now we feed them too, I watched one stack 3 crackers perfectly so he could fly off with them at once. My six month old kitten watched the entire show so I bought the dvd I think I’ll give it to him for Christmas!

  • Alan De Luca


    What an amazing program on crows. Here goes my story:

    My office occupies an area of 8 acres in my small City.
    Years ago, I decided to learn how to make bread. When it didn’t
    turn out the way I wanted, I would get irritated at myself, rip the
    loaves up and throw them outside my office. The ravens would
    end up eating the rejected loaves and I would go back to the
    drawing board. This happened a lot until I finally got the type
    of bread that I wanted. My office area is fenced in and gated.

    Years later, as I am opening up my gates, I hear a raven or
    ravens cawing and I look up. I see a raven or ravens on the utility
    pole and in the trees – looking at me ! I’m wondering what is
    going on Why are they looking at me ? This happened often.
    I’d see them hanging from the branches of the pine trees in my
    office area and wonder. They would boldly walk around my office
    area and ravens are very cautious. I finally realized what was up
    and I would then feed them.

    Its so nice to be remembered !!! Maybe the bread wasn’t so
    bad after all !

    What an experience !

    Best wishes to all of you,

    Alan De Luca.

  • Chris Holly

    I saw an amazing display of crows one fall evening, just before sunset, in the Arlington, VA neighborhood of Rosslyn, which has a lot of tallish office buildings (about 15 stories.) surrounding several parking lots. Many hundreds of crows flew in and roosted on the top ledges of several buildings, and periodically they would swoop down in a broad loop that took them to within a few feet above the ground and then to other nearby buildings. They repeated these loops over and over. At the same time, thousands–yes thousands–of sparrows also flew their own loops that began and ended in trees surrounding the parking lot I was standing in. So, there was one loop of crows, and another of sparrows. There wasn’t any overt aggression, but the noise was simply amazing, and the sight of all the birds wheeling against a blood-red sky was like nothing I have seen before or since. Amazingly, I was the only human that seemed at all intrigued by the display, as hundreds of people leaving the office buildings or coming home to nearby apartments never even looked up!

  • jojo

    i like crows

  • HERB



  • Linda Mae

    My Mom is 83 and loves crows, feeds them every day, I would love to get her a DVD of the Murder of Crows, is this possible. LMC

  • Patricia Schlachter

    I loved the Murder of Crows. I would love to get a DVD of it…and I also learned so much just from the responses. Wonderful program. I wonder is there any books that this man wrote about his experiences with them.

  • Sheila

    I was thrilled to see this show about crows and found it very interesting. I love crows, always have, but never realized they were so intelligent. This show was fascinating.

  • Bob Harold

    Some of the Crows in tonights Nature – A Murder of Crows program are Ravens and not Crows. I am not a Crow or Raven expert but here are some of the differences:

    Ravens will set their wings and glide while Crows keep their wings flapping. Ravens have a rounded end on the tail while Crows have a tail that is square and not rounded. The larger Ravens have feathers on the throat that look like long whiskers. I do not know if the cries of the Raven are like that of the Crows or not. I think that I read ten or twenty years ago that the Ravens were smarter than Crows because the Ravens would retrieve a string with food on the end of it and the Crows did not do this. Ravens have a larger bill than Crows.

    Bob Harold
    West Salem, WI

  • Lisa Rest

    I have been feeding and hanging out with crows for several years. I befriended a few who had survived West Nile virus and it took a long time to get their trust. The survivors have since multiplied and every year the offspring become exponentially more trusting of me: I am sure their knowledge of me as a trusted individual who favors them is passed from generation to generation. There are many stories I cannot relate in a small space, but one example is a three-year old crow I call Sam with whom I share a secret. I was present one time a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk chased him when he was also a youngster, and from that day forward he imitated the Cooper’s Hawk’s vocalization perfectly almost every time he saw me. I got so used to this I recently failed to react when a different juvenile Cooper’s Hawk was flying directly overhead because I was in the company of crows I know. I never have to look for my crow friends anymore, they always find me, even after I’ve been gone for weeks. And elsewhere crows I do not know seem to know me: it is as if they see my “inner crow.”

  • RW Pyers

    When I was a teenage 40 years ago, my brother and I would often hunt crows. The local farmers always let us use their land duringr the pheasant season if we hunted the crows in the off season. We had decoys, calls, blinds – the whole works. We were not very successful. Crows are the smartest birds by far. Ducks and geese on the other hand are fairly stupid ( you can attract an eider or snow goose within range by flapping a white peice of cloth). We would scout the fields in preparation of our next hunt and see plenty of crows. However, if a crow spied you in a field carrying a shotgun it would alarm the other crows in the vicinity and they wouldn’t come within 100 yards of that field or our decoys. One time we tested them by carrying a broomstick during our scouting expeditions. They wern’t taking any chances! We got to carrying a hand trap and a few clay pigions so we could fire off a few rounds to let the farmer believe we were doing our job. “How many d’jer git” they’d ask. “Five or ten” we’d say. We gave up haunting crow and went to fishing where you only hve to lie about a few inchs or pounds. After viewing this program I truly subscribe to the facial recognition theory. In my experience a crow can recognize an idiot when it sees one.

  • Barry. K

    Best tv ive watched in quite awhile. Love to sit out back in my gazebo watching and listening to the neighborhood crows. Wife thinks im nuts ..lol.. yep morning coffee and the crows thats my happy place.
    Would like to sell crow feeders on ebay…..everyones laughs….me and the crows will show them..lol
    Barry .K, kitchener ontario. canada

  • SheMuses

    When road-tripping in West Texas at an off-road river crossing, the mighty raven toll-booth worker that rested upon the wooden marker and I had a conversation that lasted almost 20 minutes. Eyes focused, head tilting, caws and all I swear we were totally connected, as I crowed about the beauty of his home and thanked him for the welcoming hospitality. When departing I prayer posed and bowed my head “namaste,” and he did so in return. (At least I think it was a ‘he.’)

  • Johnny Betts

    When I was a kid growing up in southwestern Ont. ,my older brother and I went into a bush area where to my surprise he had located a nest with 3 young crows who were ready to leave the nest . We caught 2 of them and took them home where we had one of them as a pet for many years. Pat ,as he was known was fodder for many stories, not only in our immediate area of town but from people who had heard the stories . An interesting side line to the many stories that Pat was in on ,was that when we first got him and his brother Pik somewhere along the line my brother heard that if you took a crow to a a vet he could split the crows tongue and the bird could be taught to talk . Well , Pat could certainly talk . Our backyard backed onto a school yard . Pats contact with various jokers through the fence resulted in him beiing able to actually talk.
    We had pat for 8 years . As you can imagine he was both a culprit or raskle……but he was one of the most unique pets I can imagine having . We kept his flight feathers trimmed back so he would stay around . Every now and then they would grow out enough that Pat could soar a round the neighbourhood . One of this fanourite things to do was to buzz peolple including kids.
    Never really thought I’d see a this kind of in depth look at the potential of these birds , so I thoiught I’d share a little bit of my childhood

  • Sue

    Wonderful program. I love crows! When I was a child the neighbor man aquired a crow and the crow ended up hanging around our house as we had 5 kids in our family in a constant state of motion! He loved the action. I used to go outside first thing in the morning and call Homer. He would swoop down from the big cottonwood and land on the deck railing anxious for his breakfast. We were always on our bikes and at some point Homer decided that he wanted to be on a bike too. He would either fly down and land on our shoulder to ride along with us or he would perch on our handlebars where we had applied anti-slipping tape and he would just ride around with us :) Everyone in the neighborhood was accustomed to Homer swooping about and enjoyed his antics. One day Homer decided to pay a visit to the neighborhood a block over-swooping and diving at the frightened-mothers and screaming- children! We heard all kinds of crazy-crow stories. There was something THERE-when we looked into his eyes-which was a little tricky to do because we always thought he might accidentally peck our eyes out!!! He liked shiney things :)

  • Terry

    I use to fly radio control slope gliders on the side of different slopes for wind power lift to keep my glider a loft in southern California. We watched Crows, Hawks,Sea gulls to see if their is enough lift at new hills or slope to see if our planes will fly. Also to just watch the beauty of the gliding birds. Most slopes groups or murder of Crows will frequent also to ride the slope lift to rest their wings.

    I was looking for a new inland slope on this very windy day a few miles from downtown Temecula,California back a while ago around 1998 to fly at. I spots some crows gliding on this hill so I pulled over to watch . The Crows were playing a game of tag on this slope and executing complicated aerial acrobatics to escape the crow who was it. They were doing barrel rolls and steep climbs and dives or what we called half piping like they were on skateboard ramp because the wind was so powerful they did not have to hardly flap their wings just gliding back and forth on the slope like we did with our planes.
    To get away from the crow that was it when the crow who was it would catch another crow by hitting his tail feathers. That Crow would be it and would try to chase another crow down. I sat down and watch this crow game of tag for about a hour and then the crows took off.

    I have always liked to watch crows during the fall where I live in North San Diego county you get great crow migration they seem to follow the coast and Interstate 5 during the fall months.
    I use to see 100 to a thousand crows landing on the building in the carmel valley area next to interstate 5 and the 805 split at sundown. During my evening commute you would see every fall the crows landing on these same buildings. It pretty cool it like a motel 6 for them as stop off point for the night.

  • Carol

    There is a small family of four crows in our neighborhood. I like to feed the birds in the winter, so I bought a squirrel-proof feeder. One cold day I saw two squirrels rooting around under the feeder for a seed that might have escaped the birds. It was obvious that one of the squirrels was nursing some kits, and I felt sorry for her, and so I put some corn and peanut butter out for her. Soon, several crows were helping themselves to the squirrel food too. Now I buy some extra bread for the crows. The crow family of four comes around in the afternoon, waiting for their treat. They have become pretty tame and do not fly away when I come out with the bread. I speak to them in a soft voice, and they seem to know me. They have quite a vocabulary of vocal calls, and I think I have figured out which call means “food is here”.

  • Ed G.

    I live fairly high in the mountains of Colorado. In the summer I always leave a large tray of water on my deck for the birds because water gets scarce here in the summer. This past summer I noticed that a lot of peanut shells were mysteriously appearing on my deck. This went on for days until I discovered the culprit. Somewhere someone was feeding a crow unshelled peanuts (or it was stealing them) and it was dunking the unshelled peanuts in the water tray, either to soften up the shells or to rid the peanuts of salt. This same crow (who is banded and also now has a mate) has become a frequent visitor and will also dunk hard dry bread into the water for a couple of minuets to soften it.

  • Irene

    Can someone tell me why American Crows have those long, string-like feathers on either side of their beaks? Does it aid their vission?

  • Karen W.

    I loved the nature show on crows too, but had already discovered how smart they were. I feed them peanuts in the shell and they instinctively know how to open them. They get to know your face and I couldn’t leave the house without feeding them and if I didn’t have any peanuts they would follow me down the road flying above me and then landing a few feet ahead of me as if to say I’m here, feed me. They make such good parents too, they are so protective of their young. I like to watch them at night when they gather iin flocks to roost together. I wish I could follow them to their roosting areas, it would be fun to watch the congregate together.

  • Linda F.

    I have a question. What happens if one has a dog that likes to chase wildlife in their back yard? Will Crows still come looking for Goodies?

  • Norm S

    We have had a couple of crows that have very visable white plumage in their wings. The one that was born last year (2010) had a very nice zig, zag in his or her wings when in flight almost how you would see in an indian headdresse. We nicknamed it “White Wing” after a documentery that we watched on one of the nature channels. We were fortunate enough to get a couple of pictures of it although a bit blurry. This bird mated this past year and had an offspring with white feathers in it’s wings but not as nice as his mother or father. The odd thing about this is we fed this bird all through the winter months and in May we were away for a few weeks and never saw it again, leading us to beleive that it must have died somehow, but as the young ones started to leave the nest, we saw the new one. This morning when I went out to feed them, I was taken back to find it on the ground under a tree in our back yard. We had hoped that we could have watched these remarable birds throughout the coming years. In all my years of crow sighting these have been the very first that we have actually seen with white feathers.

  • James P

    Yes crows are very smart. Watch and listen to them. I grew up in Kansas on a farm. We would shoot them every ime we saw them as they would destroy a lot of things. I grew up with this always on my mind. Now 70 years later, I still dislike crows very much. They kill the smaller finches we feed and love to watch. They kill the baby squirrels that live in our neighborhood. They sit on the electric wires that go down the street and poop all over my nice red pickup that I have to park out on the street. Both my neighbors like to feed them and even have a wood carving in their yard. So now I don’t speak to my neighbors like I used to. I have 2 cedar trees in my back yard and there are 2 crows,(a young one and it’s mother) that hang out in them, making all kinds of noise. I would like to come up with something to scare them away as it is against the law where I now live to kill crows. This should make all the crow lovers happy.
    There are now 25 crows in our area and there was none 3 years ago. Thanks for feeding them.

  • Bill Watts

    around 60 years ago i was walking near an abandoned farm in North Truro, MA. There was a huge old dead tree – no bark left – all silver colored. Hundreds of crows started to fly in from all directions and roost in the branches. It was early afternoon. After they had all settled down they started to caw as if they were talking – not all at once, but taking their turn. After about an hour or less, they all flew off in different directions. I never saw this happen before or again and I was in that area often as I lived near there. I would swear they were having an intelligent meeting, but God knows about what. I didn’t see any lookouts nor did they attack any of the group.
    It was definitely interesting.

  • Sol

    One time I was very scary. I gave the crows the wilds bird seed and it made them act all crazy. I was very scary. I swore one of them said “Hi sir, how are you”.

  • Ruth

    My cousin, Paul, lived on a farm, and always talked to the crows that roosted in the trees by his house. It didn’t take long for them to begin mimicking him. He would give them some corn or other treats at times, and they followed him everywhere. In the summer, when he was working in the fields, the crows would sit outside the farmhouse, and wait for my aunt to come out to ring the dinner bell. As soon as she rang it, they would fly to the field, find Paul, and say, “Time for lunch, Paul! Come for lunch! Lunch, Paul!” His crows were always free to come and go as they pleased, but they never seemed to stray very far. I’ve been a fan of crows ever since I first heard his crows talk. They had a pretty extensive vocabulary, and always used the right words at the right time, so they seemed to have some understanding or to make some kind of connection between words and actions.

  • blake

    i like crows….

  • bob blakely




  • Joanna

    In the middle of watching this show I called home to tell my parents about it. My dad grew up in Ohio in the 30s-40s and had a few pet crows when he was young. One he started telling me about, Timmy, he taught how to talk some words in English. Timmy also would mimic my grandfather’s laugh and make my dad think his dad was around. He would follow my dad as he rode his bicycle into town to baseball practice, and would fly from electric pole to pole. There was one boy who didn’t like birds, and was kind of afraid of them, and Timmy seemed to know this and would go sit on that other boy’s bike… apparently just to upset him. Crows seem to like shiny objects, and Timmy was no exception. He once took off with a pocket knife a friend was showing my dad, and the nuts used to attach a license plate to a car when my uncle, my dad’s brother, was changing plates. Dad also told me Timmy liked to tease the neighbors, and sometimes when they set the table for a picnic, their silverware kept coming up missing. They saw Timmy come to the table while they were inside and steal away with a fork or knife!

  • Kris

    What fascinating birds! I have been observing a white crow in our area. This bird seems to be well accepted by its murder. It also seems to have a ( black ) partner that stays with it. Earlier this summer there were two white crows, but only one has been seen for a while. This group of birds includes at least one black crow with white under the wings.

  • Adam

    The researchers on this program have said “there are only 3 animals that use tools…an elephant, crow and chimpanzee”. I’d like to say that I’ve witnessed a small bird the size of a chickadee using a small stick with pitch on it to reach in tree bark for insects. The bird would pick up a small twig, rub it in pitch, and poke it in the tree bark until it found an insect. It would then stand on the stick, eat the insect, pick up the stick again and continue in this manner. I was in a tree stand on Santa Rosa Mountain, CA in 1980/82 when this occurred. Comments…windysage@hotmail.com

  • G. Rogers

    Sorry if this was covered in an earlier question but is the species here American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) (inferred in above photo) or Northwestern Crow (C. caurinus)? The Seattle location suggests Northwestern. I was unable to tell from their calls.

  • J Lippert

    I have a very recent story of MY HERO the Crow. Since spring I have put out bird feeders in my heavily wooded yard and have had great deal of success with a wide variety of bird visits and breeding. But I’ve only once seen a Crow and I was worried since he was quite sinister looking as he spied the breakfast activities of his brethren. Weeks and weeks later I awoke to the most urgent and LOUD cawing outside my upstairs window and there he was in a tree. AND down below, lying prostrate and facing the birdy dining hall, was the (truly sinister) neighbors CAT! I couldn’t believe it. He wasn’t even one of my regulars and here he was being a Good Samaritan and saving everyone’s LIFE! Wow, I love my new hero. But as the show suggested, once they identify danger, the Vamoose, and I haven’t seen him for a while. His Job here was done! Thank You Black-Caped Crusader

  • Mary Jane Connolly O’Fiel

    As a young child my brother always had a crow. The last crow he had was named Charlie and when the Bronx Zoo opened its Childrens Zoo probably around 1956 perhaps earlier, we gave Charlie to the Bronx Zoo. My mother who never drove in the city loaded up the kids and we took Charlie to the zoo. He was even on TV however his life span was cut short when some kid fed him popcorn! True story, I promise.

    I learned very young how to crow like a crow and to this day I can make the sounds and if crows are in the area they will follow me. Thought someone would like this true story. I would love to contact the people in Seattle who were doing the research. Can you send me their contact information.
    Mary Jane

  • R T Cantrall

    We drove up to the top of Pikes Peak 3 weeks ago & the Ravens were gliding, playing tag & dive bomming down the Western side of the peak at about the 12,000 foot level.

  • Mike McC

    I loved this PBS Nature Program too; “A Murder of Crows”. Lots of fascinating info about one of the world’s smartest birds. Though I didn’t like that Seattle Professor (the guy doing the study on the crows) comparing them to feathered primates–eww from that I get the image of the flying monkeys from “The Wizard of Oz”–no need to combine those two images. A good book I read on crows was “Crow” by Boria Sax, 2003, Beakton Books Ltd. It has many interesting facts and timeline of Crows. Lots of great pictures. Yup, Crows sure are beautiful. At a rest stop in Pennsylvania (where I live) on I-80 I saw (I think) a murder of several hundred crows in the oak, maple & sycamore trees along the parking area calling & shouting to each other. But what was incredible was the setting sun reflecting off their feathers, creating blue & purple flashes of light. Almost magical.

  • will

    when i around 4 yrs old a barber my dad took me to had a crow that could not fly we were outside in a yard i wanted to pet the crow but it hopped just fast enough to stay out of my reach the barber said if you want to catch the crow you have to throw salt on his tail . are crows protected like hawks & owls ducks,geese

  • Carol

    A while back,we had a crow living near our house (in Maine) who would often meow like a cat. Whenever I was outside calling the cat, the crow would start meowing. I had the feeling he was teasing me. Loved the show (bought the DVD for my mom who loves crows, but I had to watch it first myself.)

  • Cyndie

    I live on 3 acres in a wooded area in Tennessee. I had been feeding the crows for several years and wanted a way to call them so they knew when there was food for them. My then spouse got a length of stainless pipe, big around as a soup can and about 2 1/2 feet long. He welded a hanger on top and made a metal hammer to bang on it. When I go out now and feed them I bang on the pipe about 10 times. Makes my ears ring but in anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes the crows come and eat what I put out for them. I buy cheap dog food and give them that and leftovers. They do not like lima beans but eat most everything else. One day I had a bag of cheese curls given to me by someone at work. I put them out and rang the bell. Soon in the trees were the usual group. They called and called but only one flew down and walked around the pile looking and looking at them. He then picked up one and flew off. Soon another came down and just took one and flew off. I had a short phone call and when I came back they were all gone! Seems they wanted to test out the new item as I do not usually eat processed food and it was very brightly colored. I want to see how close I can get to them this summer. Thinking of setting up a lawn chair about 30 feet away under a tree after I call them to see if they will come eat when I am sitting there. I know they have facial recognition so they must know me by now. Will post something if it works.

  • Angrybirds

    The premise for Angry Birds is fairly simple. It is a puzzle video game, and the objective is to destroy a bunch of villainous pigs by launching birds at them with a slingshot. Succeed in wiping out all of the pigs before exhausting your bird supply, and you can advance to the next level. Sound silly? It is – that’s why it’s flying off the virtual shelves with a current count of about 100 million downloads.

  • tori

    Ok I live in lansing mi and its like 200 craw out side my house what well happen

  • J LaLone

    Do crows have some of their flock/murder assigned to the role of lookout? There are 2 or three nice big and fat crows sitting at the very top of the highest tree surrounding my home and a large area around here every morning well before dawn until after dawn has fully evolved. Then a couple more crows will fly in, and shortly after they will all fly away.

    Are those birds that are roosting at the highest point for some distance acting as sentries, watching for danger to others in their flock/murder?

    It is hard to believe that their behavior indicates anything else.

  • http://bropas.eu/ Brobizz Øresund

    I’ll immediately grab your rss feed as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me recognize in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  • Laura

    FYI for all,
    Did you know that a group of baboons is called a CONGRESS?!!!! Seems particularly apt lately.

  • angry bird

    There are many of these birds that are presented within the video game and this means that there are many different colored disguises available representing each bird. They come in red, blue, yellow or black. The costumes are also produced in two types of styles and they can be worn as a jumpsuit that covers the top part of a person’s body or worn with a mask and bodysuit that covers a person’s torso from the neck down.

  • Ginny

    I learned to respect and appreciate crows a few years ago when I had about a dozen banty chickens as pets. The banties were allowed full run of our flower-filled yard eating slugs and bugs as they made several trips a day around the property. The local crows kept them safe from the hawks and eagles who nested in the tall trees of the nearby forests. They didn’t hesitate to take out after the circling, predator birds, who also wasted no time in high-tailing it out of there when the crows came after them. Crows now have my vote!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/ontario-knife-ontario-knives-buy-discount-ballistic-knives Ontario Knife

    Are practice butterfly knives illegal in Canada?

  • Daniel

    I live in SE Wi and have a regular morning group of 3.crows that like to seranade me with different bird calls I love crows and find them facinating.

  • Trailhorse

    I, too, have seen crows stack crackers so they could fly off with them w/o dropping one. I have also seen them drop black walnuts from the top of a telephone pole onto the street, wait for a car to run over the nut, hence cracking the very hard shell, then swoop down and fly off with the open nut. They are among the most intelligent animals on earth. I love their caw, it sounds haunting, but fun.

  • Cudacindy

    Ever notice when crows are on the side of the road, they turn their backs to the passing cars.

    And why its is that I only see them flock /fly in such large groups in the fall/winter at sunset? I live in Maine.

  • Bryan

    Last night, I came home to find thousands of crows flocking in our large trees and even an old pine tree. There were so many that the sound of them flying away and back was deafening. They stayed all night, making the winter trees look as though they had black leaves. It was weird. This morning, at 4am, I was awakened by their massive “cawing” sound. They left by sunrise. My concern is that they will return and I have no idea why they randomly showed up in the first place. I have two small dogs, and while they bark at them, I am fearful of what the crows might do. Additionally, everything is covered in crow droppings now. Will they return tonight? Am I doomed to have these thousands of guest every night. Why would they show up in the cold part of March in NE Ohio? I am just really confused by these visitors and honestly, a bit creeped out. Please help!

  • Martha

    Bryan, call your state Department of Natural Resources–or call the Minnesota DNR’s non-game wildlife division and ask your question. My guess is that your yard was a crow staging area and they’ve now moved on to somewhere else. But it’s possible they’ve chosen to roost there. I don’t think your dogs are in any danger; still, I’d accompany them when they go outdoors. I hope this helps.

  • Michele

    Finally I have found a stie that I can enjoy other people’s encounters and enjoyment of the Crow. I would like to take this opportunity to share my “crow” experiences. I have had a nesting pair return to the pine trees in my yard for the third year. Other than seeing the flowers bloom after a very cold and white winter, my excitement to see them return is my sign of a interesting and comical spring/summer. I spend my evenings on my deck after work watching the M/D build the nest back to nesting quality and the team work put into it for preparation of raising young. They are beginning to trust me and my camera and sometimes seem to enjoy taking a break to pose for me. I watch them play, hunt, chase each other and predetors, eat the corn I put out for them etc.. They are interesting and super intelligent birds for sure. Last year I watched this pair raise 3 healthy birds. One day I watched one of the young crows chase a squirrel on my fence for almost 10 min. It was hillarious. Back and forth, back and forth and the crow made sure the squirrel could not get to the other fence to escape into my feeder area. I honestly believe he was trying to help me keep them out of my feeders. That was the only year the little furry theives were not raiding my feeders daily. But on a warm August night after returning from a party I kept hearing a low gurggling cry that I just could not ignore. After searching and following the noise I found my playful and young crow lying on his back under the pine tree that he nested in. I am not sure what happened to him but my heart just broke for this helpless creature. I picked him up and held him all the while stroking his breast telling him it was ok now and he is in the hands of a friend. This was an experience I will never forget. The poor thing took one last breath and he passed on in my hands, as if he was waiting for me, his friend that he so enjoyed to entertain. That night I dug a deep hole and burried him under a full moon. Set a stone over his grave and asked for his return to flight in spirit.
    The next day I get up as normal and to my amazment I had about 6 crows perched at my neighbors in his maple tree across from me looking at my house and letting out these low, cawing, almost mourning like cries as if they were thanking me for what I did for their family member. They were looking directly at the grave I dug. (Just recently I learned they will mourn their dead like an Elephant will)
    So this year is a new year of these amazing birds and as normal keeping a close eye on me and my yard. Especially my dogs that try to chase the squirrels from it. This year the pair seems to be more vocal with me while I am watching them and almost seem to invite my observations. They are the most intelligent and entertaining birds going. They certainly are my favorite. Unlike old myths that they reek havoc and destruction, actually they are very family oriented and help take care of each other. We humans could learn alot from watching nature and their family habits. Please try to spread the word about these fantastic and miss understood birds and help preserve their future.
    Thank you for taking time to read my story. Blessings indeed to all.

  • edward la cross

    made me very happy . its so nice to hear people being kind to animals and birds!

  • MJ Voss

    About 6 wks ago, the neighbor kids were walking around with a baby crow that had failed it’s first flying lesson. I took it to my home to show my husband. He said it would be cool to have a pet bird (like a pirate) I told him NO WAY!
    WELL….we kept it with the intentions of getting it strong enough to fly & letting it go.
    Who knew that ”BLUE” (bc of the bright blue eyes) would win my heart over! I started looking up to see if crows or ravens had blue eyes, to see what kind of bird it was for sure. The next day the neighbor girl came by to tell me another crow had fallen out of the 100ft pinetree. I went to see…& it was the nest mate. The parents, plus one, were yelling@me as I tried to rescue the baby from under a shed & get it up away from any cats. (a cat had grabbed it earlier) I decided 2 baby crows would be too much to handle & put it on a low branch.
    Back at home, we were enjoying feeding Blue with a medicine dispenser full of pb, tuna, baby rice cereal & apple juice. Blue ate everything I have it, except sweet potatoes.
    We called it a HIM, until recently when I decided we have enough males in our home & need to balance it out with another female. So Blue is now a SHE.
    She learned to fly in the house & her favorite spot is the kitchen curtain rod.

  • MJ Voss

    Blue would come outside with me each morning while I searched for bugs & grub. She played in the ferns & bathed in the dew. She ignored her parents in the tree nearby that called out to her as well. One day she flew into the tree & came back when we called her. Then she flew off to a tree further away after being startled by my cat. Her family went to her to talk & she freaked out & flew away to another tree & they followed. She didn’t like it & flew to my chest. Then she hopped down & walked behind me, hopping up each step to the door.
    She now gluts out on her own, pecking my neighbors skylight, begging, with her mouth open, squaking. She sometimes dive bombs me & the neighbors if she recognizes them. I can call for her & she comes home. She recognizes my husbands truck & flies circles around him, lands on the roof & peers in the door. She lands on our heeds (pooping sometimes) When she stays out@ night, she is always back@ the door in the early morning waiting for her gourmet breakfast. I understand her distinctive calls & find it hilarious that she talks in her sleep. Like a gargling, purring, cooing, love talk. I can tell when she is full & wants water, by her change in vocals. She loves to take shiny stuff, tuck it under the blankets & she has even brought me things. I was wearing a hat one day & she screamed@me until she was sure it was really me. She has stuck her beak in my mouth to take spit out of my mouth, which was strange, but hey, if my dog can kiss me, why not my crow?
    Her feathers on her head look to be molting, or her family pulled them out…? Looks like she has ‘hat head’ in the back.
    Each day with her I treasure…bc I never know when/if she might not come back. But since her parents nest is right here, I think she will not leave. I think she must think of me as her mom. She is 6wks, plus the time she was in her nest, maybe 2wks? So that makes her 2months old. I can listen in the mornings to other newborns calling for food, followed by the distinctive noise of their gullets being filled. AAHW AAHW GUGUGUH…lol I never noticed all these calls b4 I got Blue Berry….:) (we live in Auburn, Wa where crows are alive & thriving. Not far from UW where the study on crows was done)

  • Sussan

    Wow, what a great place to share my experience of my favorite bird of all, Crows. I have rescued my fourth this year. He fell off the nest too early, and hopped a block to only land in my courtyard. the parents started screaming and yelling at us, and would cut branches and threw at us. We tried to put him on the tree twice, but every time he would try to fly, and fell. I think he had a balance issue by this time. I finally picked him up and made sure the loud parents watch me going into my backyard. I covered my backyard with mesh for him. After two days he learned how to eat from my hand. He had small tail, and balance issue, and generally a paranoid baby. A sloppy one indeed. And kind of skinny. In a week time I fed him about 20 crickets and superworms, and my food, fish, chicken and anything I could, and lots of water. All the time, everyday parents watched me quietly feeding the baby, with no eye contact. He grew so fast I was shocked. Tail grew bigger, wings wide, and he started exercising and in a week time one day he sneaked out and when I got home I heard his cry on my tree, I learned he’s with his parents. Though they did not feed him for two days, and it was breaking my heart, hearing him cry every day, but that was part of their plan. After 2 days he finally dared to fly to the tree parents were on. And then they fed him. They wanted him to try to fly, and it worked. I was stunned by their technique of training. They were around my area for the first week, now they just pass by me and their all together, though 2 months have passed, the baby still cry for food. Parents leave him alone for a long time, many hours, but they visit him once a day, to make sure he’s not hungry, This was a very successful story which I am proud to share.

  • Joy

    In August 2011 I was working in my garden and heard a large flock of crows overhead. When I looked up there were hundreds flying in a circle and making a lot of noise. More and more crows kept joining them and they kept this up for over a half hour. Finally it was like they had a signal from somewhere and they all flew of in every direction. I was amazed and thrilled to see this. I have asked several people about this an no one has seen this or heard of it. Can anyone tell me why they do this? This happened in Winnipeg,Manitoba Canada.

  • Jay Snif

    I noticed sparrows and other birds are missing. Blackbirds are feeding on the young. I see birds chasing birds away from there nests. Blackbirds are a nightmare. Something has to be done to reduce their population or they will destroy the other bird populations.

  • Marleen

    Thank everyone for wonderful stories about crows. I read every post and eyes even filled with tears about the passing of the pet crow. Just wanted you to know your efforts of sharing are appreciated.

  • johnsmith

    There are several crows “probably ravens” that come regularly to our yard to eat scraps of food that we throw out for the birds A few times I have evn picked up a dead roadkill on our street and put it out back for them. About “murder of Crows” one day we were several blocks from home & heard & saw a bunch in a vacant lot attacking another. We ran at them and they flew but still all in pursuit of one. I feel sure they killed it and probably ate it. We immediatly thought of “a murder of crows”. I hope I do not see this again.

  • cdemoore

    I have a crow that is about 6 years old. He was given to me by a man who had rescued him when he was a baby. I keep him in a large cage outside and feed him dog food and an scrambled egg every other day. Does anyone know what might happen to him if I let him go? He really does not seem all that happy in this cage, even though it is plenty big. I would love to let him go as long as I knew he would not be harmed by the other crows in our neighborhood. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • Mac

    I work as a security guard at a naval base in California and I work at many different areas repeatedly and I have found that if you feed a crow once they will return daily !!!!! I have found that peanuts and dog food are favorites!!!
    I also feed them at home and if I forget to feed them they will remind me by sitting on the telephone wire and goin caw,caw

  • C. White

    Don’t know if your American/Canadian crows are as noisy as our Aussie ones, but their call of “ark,ark,ark” can get very annoying. Twenty years ago you would have to travel out to a farm somewhere to see crows. Now they are in the cities and towns in large numbers, and they love to raid overflowing garbage cans. No, I’m afraid I can’t give them top billing on my favourite birds list.

  • ron teutsch

    55 years ago in a small field beside my father’s home in Dodson, Tx the trees bordering the field swarmed with crows screaming at a single crow standing atop furrow along perhaps 50 yards clear on every side. I do not remember how long this continued but I managed to walk around one edge. Then the other crows descended on that individual and torn him/her to pieces. When I asked this 80 year old negro man who worked with me hoeing the field of weeds, he said I had seen a “crow court” which I suppose now was the vernacular in that community for “a murder of crows”. I’ve simply never heard the phrase “crow court” since and no one I’ve asked over years from that community seemed to recognize the event or the term. I lived there one year.

  • Nyx

    I have always been very fond of crows, but I have noticed that it seems way more socially acceptable to like ravens. I find this rather odd because they are very closely related and ravens are also noisy and territorial and eat other birds eggs and nestlings (which is what most people say they dislike about crows)
    Eagles kill other birds and steal their nestlings too and everyone goes on about how beautiful and noble they are. Eagles also scavenge and will happily eat things like roadkill too. Lots of other birds and animals will go through your garbage given half a chance, so why so much hate for crows?
    There are a number of other birds that are way more harmful to crops as well, and crows also eat insects which can harm crops.
    A suitably large population of anything can have negative impacts on it’s environment, I think it’s important to remember that.
    Crows are just adaptable and successful at living with humans. I think there is likely more of a problem with deforestation rather than crows contributing to the decline of small birds.
    I think crows are treated rather unfairly, so it’s nice to see some people who like them as well. They are so funny, I always love watching them play games and be silly. The last town I lived in, I used to feed them on my way to work and usually wound up escorted by a big chatty flock.

  • Debra LL

    I have been feeding crows in my driveway every morning (unsalted peanuts in the shell). Sometimes there is a small flock waiting for me, but most days there is just this one fellow who has one feather sticking out on his right side (that is how I recognize him). When he is there alone, as soon as I put out the peanuts, he starts making loud calls as he looks around for his friends; obviously, he is telling his friends that the food is here. Crows do like to share! One day I looked out my front door and counted 51 crows sitting on the telephone lines in front of my house waiting for peanuts. Sorry guys; I can’t afford to feed 51 crows! That only happened one day, though . . . good thing, because my neighbors would probably complain to the government if they thought I was responsible for the presence of 51 crows. I live in the city; too many people crowded into small spaces. But I love those crows!

  • Mary Raber

    One of the best shows I have ever seen. Is it going to be on aSeattle Network station again soon. I know it’s on in areas of PA again tomorrow night. 2/21/2113. Any news about a repeat in Seattle area. Must watch & tape….so amazing. Any info would be welcomed.

  • Bob C

    I feed many animals and birds in my yard and are able to watch their daily interactions. Having a crows nest in one of my pine trees permitted me to watch young crows with their mother. On one occation, the mother was on a branch between her two young ones and was preening one of them. The other young crow moved a little closer to his mom and placed the side of his head on his mothers back and stayed there while mother was preening the other. Was so touching to watch. I too have a sentry crow that calls the family and friends over whenever i put out the food. They are very smart and interesting birds.

  • Marjo Palin

    I have a 18 years old cat and she looked entire one hour at the program about the crows. It was amazing to see her sitting such a long time and looking at the TV so intensively. I can say that we both liked the program, very interesting.

  • Heidi Sherman

    Sure, your cat looked intensely at the crows on TV, except to her it was a cooking show.

  • Trina

    I have worked at an apartment complex in Ky for 16 years, when I fist started working here I noticed the crows every morning and evening coming to the dumpster, and me being a huge animal lover, I started bringing scraps and putting them out, well not long after I noticed a lot more crows coming by, but especially 4 certain ones everyday, and if there wasn’t anything around the dumpster they would sit in the tree across from my office door and would kawl until I took crackers or something out. about 7 years ago there was a cat that came and took up here at the apartments, and the tenants loved it so much that I made it a bed outside and it’s on little area, I would feed him dry cat food everymorning when I came in and every evening before going home, one day after feeding him I decided to take him some of my breakfast, and when I went around the building there was the 4 crows eating his food with him, yea with him, so I started watching them, and every morning I would take his food around the building, and I would call him, you know, ” kitty, kitty, kitty” and I heard a sound in the trees, well the crows had noticed that when they heard me yell those words that soon the cat would have food, ha ha ha… so now when I want the crows to know I have cat food for them, I just holler, kitty, kitty, kitty, and here they come, everyone gets a kick out it, but you know, others have tried this, tried calling them and feeding them and they will not come, I guess they have got to know me and know that I mean them no harm, I think they are beautiful creatures…

  • Rita Nelson

    how can i order a copy of this brilliant film?

  • Joanne Countryman

    I’ve always had a fondness for crows. I also like black cats…Am I a witch you may ask? No, I just root for the underdog. Crows are fascinating birds. My father liked them too and told of an experiment he was part of when he lived at home in Vermont. There was a field of dried corn that was harvested and cut down, all but a square patch about 30′ x 30 left standing about mid field’. A blind was created in the middle of the patch of corn left standing. The crows were left to scavenge the field and square patch without being disturbed for 24 hours. The experiment began the next day when two men walked into the square patch and into the blind where they stayed still and out of site for about an hour. The crows stayed away from the patch in the middle of the field but did feed on the outer edges of the harvested field. One man then came out of the blind while one stayed in. Still the birds avoided the standing patch of corn. It wasn’t until the second man came out of the blind and patch that the crows resumed feeding in the standing patch of corn. Then 3 men went into the corn patch and two came out after a time, all the while the crows avoided the patch, until the third man came out. Then the crows again resumed feeding in the standing patch of corn. The experiment was continued in this fashion up until 11 men had gone into the corn. While the 11 were in the blind the crows avoided the square patch. One by one ten men exited the corn until there was 1 left in the blind in the standing patch of corn. As the 11th man was still in the blind before he could exit, the crows began to fly to the standing square patch of corn and feed undisturbed. The crows were acting as they had when all the men had exited the standing corn patch before. The 11th man did not frighten the birds and remained in the blind still and silent until dusk when the crows returned to their nests. The experiment was repeated a few more times in the next few days and it was concluded that crows can apparently count to 10. To the best of my knowledge this experiment was conducted by a group of bored teenage boys who had done all their harvesting chores and had nothing better to do. They were fascinated by the intelligence of the crows and they were of the same mind that unlike their father’s, farmers all they didn’t hate the crows. My Dad grew up to be a city slicker working in a bar sweet talking some fine fancy customers. Even working in the most prestigious club in Philadelphia until he was discovered by the owners of a big company that saw his smarts with numbers and hired him into their company in a management position. Since he hadn’t quite completed high school they helped fudge him a “resume” of sorts for the HR department and for the “record” indicating he had graduated with honors from the University of Vermont. I guess they just didn’t check into things like that back in the day…there is no University of Vermont. Dad retired and had a conglomeration of bird feeders in the yard and always included something special for the crows…



  • fultonk

    Hi Rita,
    You can purchase a copy of “A Murder of Crows” at ShopPBS.

  • James Davis

    Hi, I happen to be watching your program tonight title: “The murder of Crows”, I really like the observations you’ve gotten through your studies, as I watched your program it brought me back to my own observation of Crows that I found fascinating : a couple years ago one day around noon I was sitting in my car at sea side park in Bridgeport Ct just observing the surroundings when I notice an Eagle that appear to be weak and unable to fly, periodically a black Crow would swarm down towards the Eagle as if it was about to attack the Eagle, the Eagle would lower it’s head moving out of harms way obviously the Eagle could’nt defend itself and the Crows knew it, and didn’t care. Your program ‘The murder of Crows’ shed light on this observation of mine- The Eagle is an enemy to the Crow, in this situation they had the upper hand and was ready to take him out. Thank You

  • Pat Haynes

    Over 9 years ago I observed a large raven walking down the sidewalk in our city. Thought that unusual….as I watched others flew over and called to him/her. The one on the ground replied. The flying birds dropped food to the one walking! Turns out s/he had an injured left wing and could not fly. We started calling him “lefty’. Lefty hung around all Fall and into the Winter months. I called a number of places trying to figure out how to capture him…with the goal of rehabbing. However, Lefty had other ideas…he started hanging around in our back yard. Every time we’d come out he’d hop up the branches of our scrub trees until he was not reachable. His family continued to feed him. Then one day in Feb. he disappeared. His family did not return. We’ve not seen any of them since. What a joy to watch them care for their injured one. I LOVED the Murder of Crows….brought back fond memories!

  • Wendell Harrison

    Years ago I rescued a fallen raven from cats in Los Angeles. I named him Ronald Raven. I walked with him on my shoulder around feeding him/her until he could fly. I asked fish & game where I should take him to return. I was told it was a protected species and I had broken a law, and should “try” to return it but would probably fail. I drove to Palmdale and dumped Ronny and drove home but he followed the car. back. 25 miles. I drove to Solvang and left Ronny successfully. Two years later I was in Palmdale and Ronny landed on my shoulder. He was huge by then, and very heavy. He/she didn’t stay long but I cried when he flew away.

  • Darlene

    I love my crows! I say mine because it seems to be one family that shows up on a daily basis to eat the dog kibble, peanuts, chicken and cheese I put out for them. My signal to them is my whistling, loudly, “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keyes. It carries really well and then the signal gets sent out to the others. The matriarch I call Crooked Wing because of her droopy right wing. I think she’s the mom because the youngsters squawked at her and followed her around to eat with their mouths open. Her mate, always nearby, has recently showed up with a missing foot. He seemed to hang back away from the others right after this happened and it was kind of heartbreaking to see this big guy suddenly listless and just sitting in the backyard. I’ve moved the feeding ground to my front yard now where I can see them better and watch his progress. He’s managing better, using the stump as a kind of balancing cane, but he does still avoid any confrontation with the others and squirrels. Too bad you can’t post a video here because yesterday I got the greatest little film footage of Crooked Wing taking on a ravenous Turkey Vulture. He was chowing down on all their goodies and she jumped him over and over again, pulling his back tail feathers. I’ve heard they do that so the bird has to release the food to fight back. He was getting a bit miffed at her and eventually had enough and flew away. I can’t wait to see Crooked Wings new babies this year. I’m so flattered when I get super close fly bys when I go outside or they sit in the tree while I’m gardening and gurgle at me. As soon as I wake up and turn on the kitchen or bathroom lights, they fly close to let me know they’re waiting. My love affair with crows began in Rome when I watched an all out attack on a seagull that must have gone too close to a nest. The calls were wild and then crows came from everywhere to protect something I couldn’t see. The crows there are Hooded Crows but were also willing to land on our balcony for tasty Italian food. They were incredibly shy and I struggled to get some pictures, but I did. I also watched them dive bomb a pigeon right off my balcony who wanted to share their prosciutto! They are so brilliant!!

  • arielbird

    I’d like the reference for “at least 250 different calls”. Is there a study or a listing? How do we know that?

    Thank you!

  • Karen

    We have ravens, they are some big birds and are so funny. Silly ole birds, I love them!

  • brian and millie

    I had a white dove fly onto my shoulder one day and it seemed to have a injured wing i brought it home and nursed him back to health. I then found it hard but new i had to release Mr Word naming him. He hung around a few days then flew off not to be seen again…Will he come back?? A week later a baby crow walked in my garage and said aaaaawk aaaawk he was wobbling and not abel to pirtch . He had blue eyes and very cute but very clumsy There was no ma or pa looking after him that i could see but there were a few cats licking there chomps..so i took him in fed him and hoped he would become strong which he did then after about 4 days he died in my girlfriends arms..we buried him in a custom coffin on the beach under life guard tower 16with a sermon … we were in tears for 2 days ..Do you think it was his heart??And why do these birds come to me???

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