A Murder of Crows

Crows live everywhere in the world except Antarctica and are a part of myths and legends in many cultures. Their reputation in the stories varies from comical to frightening, godlike or wise, bringers of light and bringers of death, though a “murder” of crows refers to a flock of crows, and not to anything murderous, at all. They may be all these things, but what we are learning is that they are especially smart.

New research has shown that they are among the most intelligent animals on the planet. They use tools as only elephants and chimpanzees do, and recognize 250 distinct calls. One particular talent they have been discovered to possess is the ability to recognize individual human faces and pick them out of a crowd up to two years later – a trick that might make even Hitchcock shiver with fright.

They thrive wherever people live and have used their great intelligence to adapt again and again to a constantly changing world. Some memorize garbage truck routes, and follow the feast from day to day. Others drop nuts in the road and wait for passing cars to crack them open. And some build their nests from items we throw away – like wire clothes hangers.

These are social birds that mate for life and raise their young for up to five years. And they learn from each other’s misfortunes. When one is killed in a farmer’s field, it’s not uncommon for them to change entire migratory patterns so that no crows fly over that field for as long as two years.

These birds might have a scary reputation, but what may prove to be the scariest thing about them is how much they know about us, and how little we know about them!

A Murder of Crows premieres Sunday, October 24 at 8:00 PM.

  • Lynfa

    What day is this airing? The schedule isn’t working for me.

  • ben

    i would really like to know the same

  • char

    here as well….Love, love, love my family of crows

  • jessica

    me too! They amaze me. Loring Park had a murder of them this winter.

  • Warren

    I raised a young crow to adulthood and had it as a pet for 3+ years before it disappeared. My experiences with that crow more than support the comments in the “Introduction” about their great intelligence. His eye site was also incredible. He could pull my black leg hairs that protruded through a black sock with out ever picking any of the fabric.

    Is this program available on DVD ?


  • Ann

    Airs Sunday October 24 on the series Nature — 8:00 PM in most areas.

  • judith

    When i was about 5, growing up in NJ, I had a pet crow that came to me each day…I used to sneak bread to bring out to him, he became so friendly /used to me, he ‘d actually eat from my hand, Finally my parents, (mother) saw me and also was wondering about the breadcrums, cracker mess in my jackets. He was a very smart little guy, he disapeared , I looked for him for weeks in tears, I ‘m now 56 and i still can remember his face and think of him whenever a crow screeches at me. Can’t wait to see the program

  • Big_Bear

    I lived on a busy street in Spokane, and was sipping coffee at the kitchen window one morning when a movement caught my eye. A squirrel had been run over crossing the street and was in its death throes. Before it had stopped moving, down swooped a crow for the pickings! Soon other crows joined in. They timed the cars perfectly, managing to dine in style before the unfortunate squirrel became roadkill pancake.

  • Matt Davis

    Crows are really fascinating. I love watching them. I cannot wait to see this program.

  • Adam

    Come to Salem to check out a Science Pub presentation by one of the researchers involved in this work.


    Willamette University Biology Chair David Craig
    Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m.
    Brown’s Towne Lounge (21 and over)
    Admission is free

  • Jennifer Stevenson

    I’m a major crow fan. I feed them peanuts–and they remember me for years and years, follow my car demanding peanuts. They come around to my house every fall with their young kids and introduce them to the crazy peanut lady. I’ve attended their funerals. I’ve catered at their slumber parties. I’ve played copycat with them–I can imitate two crows at once for up to fourteen caws in a row. Fifteen stumps me, and they get disgusted & go away. I can imagine them telling each other, “Maud, I’m not kidding, I think these things are intelligent! This one can count!”

    They put up with us because we’re entertaining and a supply of french fries.

    They like peanuts in the shell. Carry a peanut in your pocket. If you see a crow in a nearby tree, caw to it. Make eye contact. Throw the peanut up and down in the air, let it spin, catch it a few times. Then toss the peanut over your shoulder and let it clatter on the sidewalk…and walk away. Get 50 yards away or so and look back. You might see the crow come down and take the peanut. And you’ll have a fan for life. jenniferstevenson.com

  • Judi

    We rescued “Crow Baby” when he fell out of the nest in a nearby tree. We fed him Gerbers strained meat from a baby bottle. We kept him in a cardboard box filled with shredded newspaper. He was sooo ugly in the beginning but he became more handsome with each passing day. Because he was so dependent upon us we had to take him on vacation. Thus he spent the night in a very fine hotel. When he got a little older we taught him to sit on our arm like a hawk. He did this soo beautifully. I began to recognize his cry above all other crows like any good mother does. Then one day he flew off into the deep blue yonder never to be seen again. I envisioned that he was reunited with his parents. For some time to come I was certain I heard his cry from time to time.

  • Empi

    I have had some very interesting experiences with crows. I never gave them much thought until one day I heard a persistent crowing and it turned out it was a young crow that had apparently fallen out of its nest. It was a pretty big bird but it still had blue eyes. I had to get to work but I said to myself if he’s still around when I get home, I will have to do something. Sure enough when I got home he was still around. It was a hot day and a neighbor notice him looking for water so she turned on the sprinklers and he danced in the water. We finally figured out a way to get him into a carboard cat carrier until I could figure out where to take him. After many calls with no solutions, I kept him in the carrier all night and would try to figure out what to do with him in the morning. After more calls, I called my vet who gave me the name of a woman who rescues all types of animals. She said if I could bring him to her, she would nurse him until he was ready to fly. The woman lived quite a distance and in a canyon which was very difficult to get to. It was a very hot day in the 90s and the bird was in the carrier. I had the a/c on in the car for the bird. I finally reached the woman and she confirmed he was a baby and she said he was skinny and needed food. She fed it dog and cat kibble and kept him for about 6 weeks but said I would have to come back to get him when he was ready to be let go because they are territorial birds and if she let him out where she lived, he would immediately be killed by other crows as they would know he didn’t belong. Well to make a long story short, I did go back to get him and released him back where I found him (in my back yard). That crow never forgot me. It would follow me in my car and sit on the roof and wait for me to come home. That crow made me start noticing other crows and I realized how fascinating they were and started reading about how smart they are. My biggest mistake was to feed them. They never forget and they won’t let you rest. They see my car for a l/4 of a mile and follow me home, much to the dismay of my neighbors. One day I went to the dentist which was about l/4 mile from my home and there was a crow in the tree outside the building screaming and screaming and I realized it was “one of my crows”.

    Thanks for listening but I had to tell the story They are amazing bird, but I do have one bit of advice, don’t feed them.

  • Edith Bockian

    In California where the weather may be warm in December, a number of classes were presenting an outdoor concert of holiday songs for parents and other guests. A lone crow observed them from a nearby tree. When the youngsters began to sing, the bird began to caw. At the end of each song, the children paused….the crow paused. Each time they began, the crow would “sing” with them. The kids would stop, the bird would stop. It was very dificult to keep from laughing out loud!

  • Trust no one

    To everyone interested it is being televised this Sunday on channel 28 KCET at 8:00pm PST

  • Maximilian Schmid

    I know in Saint Louis this ‘crows’ episode of Nature will be on 10/24/10 at (Central) 7:00 p.m. But does anyone know when, if it will air again on KETC (Saint Louis) channel 9-1, 9-3 or even 9-4?

    My e-mail address:Maximinion@Gmail.com

    I sure hope it will air again.

  • GJordan

    I think crows might be smarter than even this series claims. They don’t just watch us, but they listen. Two crows were having a dust-up with two songbirds near Montage Mountain, Pennsylvania. The songbirds would dive-bomb the crows in flight. Whenever a songbird would dive at one of the crows, the crow would cry “Uh-oh!”. Yes, they can imitate something they hear a lot, but, in this case the crow was using “Uh-oh!” in exact human context. The crow knew in what situation to call “Uh-oh!” That is smart.

  • Jmartino

    We see the same crows from year to year at our rural place. Two pairs have been nesting in the same trees for years. They are waiting to be fed upon their return and “invite” other crows to the feast, yet the two pair seem to have control over the nesting area in a small “canyon” behind our house. If for some reason I forget to feed them they will let me know each day by making a racket at the window.

    When training their young, they seem to be putting them through a series of distinct vocal drills as well as flying from location to location then having a conversation with them and having the young ones move from place to place.

    They are very, very interesting and provide endless entertainment. I never tire of watching them whenever I get the chance.

  • nona spitzer

    When will this air in Los Angeles, Ca. ?

  • Ra

    Down in the Streets they Call it Murder! Facial recognition and Murder comunication doesnt suprise me, Im not a big fan of crows, I live in a raptor migration route and I see Murders gang up on birds of Prey all the time, infact when I hear 5 or more crows going crazy, I can guarantee a bird of prey in the area getting attacked. My question is “What did the caveman do to antagonize the crow?” What ever it was….good jod

  • Tammy Zaluzney

    Loren Eisley worte a lovely short story called IN Judgement of Birds which includes a facinating passage about a crow. Anyone interested in natural history, beautiful writing and birds, I hughly recommend reading The Star Thrower by Loren Eisley. I can not wait for this show to air and am looking forward to watching it.

  • ulogoni

    Raptors are a threat to crows, thus crows alert others and call for reinforcement to help chase away the threat. Crows are a threat to smaller songbirds, thus smaller songbirds of various species alert others and call for reinforcement to help chase away the threat. They do so to raptors as well. That’s survival. I don’t understand the psychology of folks who fault crows for a behavior that keeps themselves and their kin alert and alive. I hear double standards for these birds more often than not. It says more about the human than it does the bird.

    Crows have voices which demand attention. So even people who are normally oblivious of the day-to-day struggles and triumphs of those other lives around them, can be pulled to attention. They are also highly visible.

    A lot of unfair symbology surrounds crows as well. The map is not the territory. Perhaps it is a bit of this cultural programming that brings people to feel negatively toward a crow family which feels threatened by a hawk, and follow up with a later observation of some communal songbirds displaying the same behavior toward a crow, but this time the human feels a sense of “serves him right.”

    Around these parts I observe the more solitary kestrels attempting to drive off red-tailed hawks frequently. Yet I don’t hear the same ire. And there shouldn’t be, for either species. But I wonder if some people even notice.

  • Lee Dermody

    In Vancouver BC there thrives one of the largest crow populations in the world. A census was taken some years back numbering them somewhere around 30,000 strong. If you ever happen to be in East Vancouver (Commercial drive area) near dusk or dawn you’ll see a highway of crows that some times takes over and hour to pass.They roost in Burnaby, and having once been there upon their evening arrival I was amazed at the sheer numbers. the tress were blackened and the sound of traffic was drowned out. I’m in love with crows, they are remarkable birds with uncanny intelligence. East Vancouverites are well familiar with these unique animals. Just look at the local art stores and galleries.

  • Christina

    I cannot WAIT for this episode!! I thought I was crazy last school year when the same crow would watch me take my kids to school, follow me to the school, watch me pick up the boys, and follow us back home!! I had no idea it was the same crow all year, but I had a creepy feeling that it was! And indeed it was; it also would sit next to my window and squak at me every morning at about 5:30am. He’s found someone else to pester this year, but I know he’s still right around the corner… Creepy!

  • Linda F

    We used to have a lot of crows here around St. Louis, but the west nile virus has reduced the population of crows drastically. I hope they make a come back one of these days. I love them.

  • Carla R

    Just watched this program and was delighted with the information that was highlighted about these mysterious, often disliked, creatures. I have a new-found respect for them and highly recommend that people watch this program! It is shocking and amazing at the same time…the intelligence factor along with many other variables (including mating for life, the need for closeness to a parent, the memory and the fact that they are quicker and more intelligent in some cases than dogs and are closer in intelligence to children in some tests, to name a few) is utterly fascinating! Grab your popcorn, you are in for a treat! Do NOT miss this program!

  • amber ladeira

    It’s Sunday, October 24th, and “A Murder of Crows” has just ended. A fine program, with
    a lot of great footage of crows showing off their intelligence and ability to learn.
    However, I must challenge a statement that was repeated several times during the
    program: “Crows, great apes (Chimpanzees) and humans are the only animals that
    use tools.” What about the finches discovered by Darwin on the Galapagos Islands?
    Also, certain woodpeckers and vultures: the vultures’ use of tools were observed by Jane
    Goodall herself.

    Fact checking is, alas, fast becoming a lost art.

  • Mary

    If crow’s offspring are listening to and remembering their parent’s advice, does that mean our children are too?

  • Tracy

    After seeing this program, I am in awe of this bird! What an absolutely amazing creature. I’ve never really watched them since we don’t seem to have many in our neighbourhood. I will definitely pause next time I see one! Thank you PBS for opening my eyes and they eyes of my 5 year old. Not only did we watch eagerly, but it spawned some very excited conversation. This is what TV should be!

  • Rudy Cadra

    I grew up in the eastern Texas panhandle in the mid fourties , I was about 9 years old. My father was a farmer as were our neighbors. We grew maize and kaffer which are both grains. American Crows came in groves to feed on our crops. There were thousands and they would eat tons of ungathered grain. They roosted in “shinery patches” which are a scrub oak type bush or tree that was a nuience in it’s self. Farmers would watcjh out in whic “patch” they roosted in and they would go in on Saturday and put up home made bombs made of 2 foot stove pipe and plug one end and put a stick of dymamite in it along with whatever shratnel they could come up with. Twenty to thuirth of these were put in place then came the wait for them to come to roost. When the time was just right the bombs were set off and people came in with flashlights and clubs to kill off survivors. The farmers finally won the war and now crows are seldom seen.

  • Jennifer Morris

    In the Aleutians, I watched three or four crows orchestrate stealing food from an bald eagle. One crow would pull the tail feather s of the eagle and when the eagle would turn to see who was messing with him, the others would inch closer for the theft. This has to involve planning and courage!! The eagle was baffled, and looked quite stupid by comparision.

    I’ve also heard these birds mimic eagles. And ‘play’ in the snow, sliding down a snowy roof on their backs.

  • Valerie

    Saw this spot just moments ago and it was excellent, very interesting. Crows are very smart, saw one crow take a walnut and place it strategically in the middle of the street and wait for a car to come by. When a car drove by and missed the walnut he would readjust the walnut fly up in the tree and wait for another car to drive by. This went on for several moments. When the crow realized that this was not working, he flew up in the air with walnut in beak and dropped it in the middle of the street. He did this several times until it cracked open. Not are they smart but persistent and patient, we could learn some character training in these areas from them. : ) Thanks PBS!

  • Greg

    I’ve known crows were extremely intelligent for a long time, as in the late 80s early 90s I was lucky enough to have had a job which allowed me to observe crow behavior for a few years. I love crows as I have seen them act virtually the same as humans. Trick one-another, play and congregate; as well as be attentive parents and collaborate with one-another on obtaining food.

  • Katie Bennett

    Love crows! My family has befriended them for 3 generations. My dad grew up with Old Joe, who rode on his shoulder or handlebars to school each day, and every year figured out which window belonged to his classroom.
    I had Cassius, who loved to sneak sips from your coke or coffee cup, and figured out how to fly with clipped wings. Later he learned to whistle for the dog, imitate a baby’s cry, or a cat’s meow. My daughter fed crackers to Birdie, who figured out how to stack them 4 high in her beak and fly back to her nest. Birdie and her offspring came for 4 years, and several had learned their mother’s stacking trick. They recognize my daughter on her daily walks around the block, and even follow our black car home from several blocks away, waiting on the streetlight for us to bring the crackers out once we get home. They “gargle” and “knock” vocalizing to her from the trees in our back yard, not the cawing you normally hear.

  • chaz

    I know everyone will think I’m crazy (I still can’t believe it), but I noticed a couple of years ago that when I was about to go and do something that was possibly not in my best interest, I started to notice I would hear a single crow squawking that sounded like it was saying “uh-uh” (like it was saying ‘No’). The first few times this happened I just blew it off, but then I noticed that something bad would usually happen afterwards. Now, if I leave the house and hear that ‘uh-uh’…I will NOT go to where ever I am about to go…I totally trust the warning.

  • Krystal

    Great show. I will never look at crows with disgust again :-) I hope it airs again soon so that I can record it.

  • Robert

    50 years ago we raised two young crows, mostly on rabbit meat. One–incensed at suffering the ignominy of having some flight feathers trimmed on one wing–left home, hopping off down the country lane for good. The other, Jim retained his(her?) feathers and enjoyed tweaking our dogs tail till chased back up into the live oak. He’d wait till the dog lay down to tweak again. Jim also learned to talk but we didn’t understand, and had a two distinct new calls that eventually were shared with crows in the area. I still hear his ‘Ka Daw, Ka Daw, Ka Daw!’ and another call, sometimes over 50 miles from our home. I never heard these calls before 1960, among hundreds of crows observed. I think Jim, or a descendant, is still close around, because I hear him trying to speak “Grawauawog” etc. (English?). He/she moved back into the vicinity of our house after I returned from 40 years abroad.

  • Bob H

    I turned from a very good football game this evening to view this episode of NATURE, so that I might possibly gain some insight on the family of crows who lived outside my apartment window this July. What an abolute thrill to see the investigators walk through the Seattle park that is across the street from my building – and to have, somewhat, solved the mystery of those colored bans on the parents’ legs. I believe I saw an indication that at least some of the video was shot in 2008; I will keep my eyes open in 2011.

  • Storm

    I’ve been an avid crow watcher for many years and have dozens of anecdotal stories about them.I’ve seen a crow flying with a cup of coffee in his beak, which I have to assume he stole, and spilled some on the hood of my car as he passed over. Once while my partner and I were walking our little dogs we noticed a crow in a tree overhead looking directly at us and BARKING!! Here in Buffalo Ny on cold winter night we are often treated to the strangely beautiful sight of crows staging (roosting together in large groups) in the ancient trees of Forest Lawn cemetery, like great black leaves.

  • Kevin

    What a great show! A very informative view of a often misunderstood bird. I had heard of them stealing shiney objects but stealing clothes hangers?
    I wish their had been mention of the disease that has been killing them that can alert us of the disease that can harm us too. Sadly, I can’t remember the name of it.
    Also, how are ravens and crows realated? They both have similar traits and “smarts”!

  • Tom

    After seeing this program, alot of what i’ve experienced with crows makes me laugh out loud. my older brother once downed one of a trio while squirrel hunting in eastern Ohio, and on his way through a field on his way home the two remaining crows shat on his head.

  • humormaster

    I watched it last night. Very impresive and very interesting.

  • Tbconley

    I watched the episode and was amazed at what crows can do. I have always believed that birds know alot more about this world than we give them credit for. Crows are beautiful creatures. Thank you Nature for a great program.

  • salidabiker

    Anyone know when this will repeat? I missed it and am inthe Rocky Mountain PBS viewing area. Thanks!

  • kathy

    For a few consecutive days I was going to a same spot in a park to work on my car. After a few days I heard someone say “hello”. I looked around and looked up; the crow said “hello” again as I was watching it. A stranger standing a few feet away from me asked if I had heard that. In trying to rationalize I thought of the telephone men
    who use this junction to test the phone system, maybe this was a local bird. The crow was not tame because he/she did not come any closer. I have never told anyone of this. Now, I will have to design a T-shirt.

  • C. Teegarden

    Please show this program about Crows again. I found it very interesting.

  • Anna

    That was a great movie!!!!!! I loved it! My cat loved it too and tried to jump on the TV once in a while to catch the birds:) You are the best PBS!

  • Sue

    The show on crows was fascinating. How can I buy the DVD for a friend, a BIG crow-fan?

  • Allen

    here is link to buy a dvd $19.95+sh+tax


    Yes Robert I saw your post (brother) Jim was always full of mischief, and he did make the old dog the brunt of most of his pranks. Sand flicked into the old dogs face then pull out the hairs in the tip of his tail, when the dog tried to get him he would fly up and just hover in the air above him. Loved to peck while the dog was eating, then jump in and steal the choice pieces of dogs food.
    Years after Jim joined his wild friends he returned, appearing to have caught a load of birdshot, he looked really ruffled up, we saw him off and on around the farmhouse for about 3 weeks, till he mended then was off again.
    They are fasinating and smart birds, which any good Crow-hunter will testify to! Yes they will laywaste a watermellon patch, and give the sweetcorn a fit. I’ve sent many of them to meet thier maker, but never once did I think I had WON the fight! I just encouraged a temporary change of diet for a while!

  • Carol

    We had a pair of crows my boys named Sparky and Sparkle. They would bring their youngsters to our bird bath. They also played with a ‘toy,’ a pork chop bone. Sometimes it would be in the birdbath and sometimes I’d find it on the roof when I went to retrieve a frisbee.

    There are many crows in my new neighborhood. I think I’ll friend them :-)

  • Linda

    I have loved and been fascinated with crows for a long time and watch for them daily. One day I was on my way home down a road with several blind curves and noticed many crows flying back and forth and making an amazing amount of noise. I pulled off the road to watch and a split second later a police car came flyng around a curve, in my lane, passing a car, without lights or siren…it would have been a direct head on hit if I was on the road, As I sat there stunned a single crow feather floated down in a spiral in front of my car. Ever since then I have paid extra attention to the crows that honor me with their presence.

  • katfeed

    I also ‘have’ a family of crows that I’ve been attached to for the last 10 yrs… and they are so hysterical! My neighbors dislike me, for ‘my’ crows come to the trees around my house, before first light, and make a complete racket, so I have to get up and go feed them, so they will knock it off!!! And of course if life is hard for them, they show up again in the late afternoon, to fill up before bed-time. I feed them bread heels, and meat scraps too, so they stay strong, and this past spring I had mice in my house, so I put the mouse bodies on the front doorstep, and off they would fly with a mouse hanging out of their beaks. If you feed them something different than they are accustomed to, they sort of fuss and fidget with the new item, until they deem it OK. I think they are somewhat particular about what to do with food, as sometimes they stuff their beaks and fly off to a nearby large tree, and other times they swallow as fast as they can. I guess they are alot like us humans, but I think my best enjoyment is in the spring, when the youngsters come also… the kids make this mewling cry, while chasing the larger crows, with their beaks wide open, as a nestling would do. Sometimes it works for them, sometimes not, but it is so delightful to watch!
    And did you all see those researchers, with the Masks? Like a Mask could fool a Crow!!! ‘My’ Crows know both me, and my car, ya cannot fool them, try as ya might. They come and they go, as long as they know I am in the ‘crowd’, but let a strange car pull into the driveway, and they are long gone. Masks, Indeed! That was so funny!!! If anyone wants to know more, research your local library, and hopefully it is a participant in the program that allows one to borrow books from other libraries, so you can try to find out more about Crows, that way. It has been So Fun, for me!!!

  • duluth george

    I’ve been saying it for years: if man didn’t first domesticate dogs, we would have done it with crows. Been feeding a pair for nearly a decade (and yes, they really like peanuts in the shell, among other things). The program makes official a whole bunch of stuff that I was pretty sure of, but needed verification for.

  • Scott A Smith

    I saw this episode last night at 3 in the morning. It has sparked my interest and I need to do a research paper on psychology for this term in college. I wish to know more about the “thinking of the mind” research and any of the rest of the research. I only wish that more people accepted the fact that we are not the only inteligent creatures on this planet. This program helps to right this very wrong steretype in a small way.

  • Porter

    In the Bible is recorded an incidence in 1 Kings Chapter 17 where the Lord used ravens (crows) to feed the prophet Elijah. Referring to an earlier post by Christina (on my birthday, 10-22) I have experienced an encounter with crows where I have been fed or received an unexpected blessing and there was a crow perched nearby… this on more than one occasion. Christina, may I extrapolate from your name a bit? Christ in a particular situation, in a seemingly peculiar way. FYI, no such thing as coincidence to a believer. +++

  • Naozer

    Extremely interesting and fascinating. Humans are certainly not the only intelligent ones after all !

  • Ed

    What a great show….I knew they were smart but I had no idea they were this smart….Ahh nature……

  • Walia

    Yes, after watching crows for the last 18 years I also conclude that they are very intelligent. Here are some interesting observations. 1. Whenever I throw pieces of bread out for the crows, I noticed that they often pick 2-3 pieces at the same time. 2. If they can’t eat all the bread I leave for them, they hide the extra pieces somewhere in the yard and cover them with leaves. 3. During a snow storm, I saw a crow digging through about six inches snow to find a piece of bread. It was likely bread which the bird must have hidden before the snow fell. 4. One time I left some pretzel rods out for them. They had a difficult time trying to eat the rods. They kept hitting the pretzels with their beaks in order to break the rods into small pieces. After a while they picked up the pretzel pieces and threw them into the birdbath, (obviously to soften the pretzels ). Then after a minute or so of soaking, the crows started to eat the softened morsels.

  • susan

    is this program being repeated? i have time warner…please tell me what channel i can find you on, and when i can see the repeat. thanks…susan

  • Art101

    My longtime friend, the late recording artist Jimmie Spheeris, was adopted by a crow in the early 1980’s. To this day, I consider crows to be my totem species and friends. I had a remarkable encounter with a crow last week in parking lot. The crow was clearly trying to tell me something… looking me in the eye from a signpost and speaking with an urgent voice. I wish I spoke Crow. You can see a photo of Jimmie’s crow on his memorial website… on the cover art for his final album. See: http://www.jimmiespheeris.com/js/last.html

  • Robert S.

    This past summer I discovered something new to me about crows. I was going walking along the bike Rails to Trails path and these two crows were in a large pine tree nearby preening their feathers. They did not seem to be bothered by my presence so I stopped to watch, then I noticed the sound they were making as like a conversation with each other. It sounded like a combination of space music with a jumbled tape of early radio broadcasts all mixed together in the most complex display of sound I have ever heard. I’m looking around to see if there was somebody playing a sci-fi movie soundtrack, but there was nobody in sight and I walked a little closer and it was absolutely those crows making this phantasmagoric mixture of sounds even the most advanced of aliens would have been impressed by, I’m sure. One of the crows even had a yellow beak. I walked on so as not to disturb their further cogitations.

  • Irene

    A friend and I were feeding the ducks and crows at Lake Washington. It always amazes me how the crows don’t shove aside the smaller birds like seagulls do. It is as if they know they can easily find a meal elsewhere. When we were through, we sat in the car and watched the birds. A black sports car drove up and a young couple got out to go by the shore. The boy started throwing rocks at the ducks to entertain his girlfriend. She just giggled away. Meanwhile the crows are roosting on the phone lines watching this event. The crows started dive-bombing the black car with special emphasis to the open car window. I was parked 2 spaces away…they didn’t touch my car! Crows aren’t wicked except for their sense of humor!

    Even though crows may be “dissed” by the public at large, they sure don’t act like it bothers them. Watch them when they are on the ground walking. They don’t walk…they STRUT! Proudly, too! Also, when they take off for flight they don’t pull up their “landing gear” (feet) right away. They just fly off with their legs hanging down. Sometimes I think they do it on purpose to make me laugh because I do feed them. They appreciate the old bread from the bakery thrift shop but you should hear them when I bring Cheetos or popcorn. Aaawww, Aaaawww, Aaawww!

    One more thing…look up the story “Rainbow Crow” on the internet. It is a Lenape tribe story about how the crow turned black. Crows once were the most colorful birds on earth according to the story. Check it out!

  • arthur marcus


  • Irene

    A coworker was teasing me when I told him about UW reseaarch on crows. That it is funded by the Department of Defense and about crows being able to “pick a face out of a crowd.” He said, “What are they going to do? Ship some off to Pakistan to find Osama? Or station some crows at the airport to work for the TSA. Come on, the owls in Harry Potter deliver mail!”

  • JoAnn Niemela

    The program was excellent. I have studied crows for years and wrote a children’s book for eight year olds and up called The Crows of Hidden Creek. The book is based on actual crow behavior, but it is fiction and so is dramatized a bit.
    I got interested in crows when a batch of them attempted to steal a net full of suet that my husband had nailed to a tree. One of the crows succeeded in freeing the suet and ran down a hill on the golf course with the net in his beak. Usually the crows post a sentinel, but they had been so busy stealing the suet, they forgot. A red-tailed hawk was watching and at the right moment, it swooped down, scraped the back of the crow with the suet and grabbed the treasure when the crow dropped it. The rest of the crows went after the hawk, but, too bad, the prize was long gone.
    In my book, the hero, Dak, gets involved in a crow shoot, and his friend is wounded.
    It is a moral little story, and for some reason grandmothers like to read it to their grandchildren.

  • Nick Costa

    About 4 years ago there was a crow that was stuck to the hot tar on the roof of my town house.The roofers had been a bit messy with the tar and the hot sun kept it soft and sticky. The poor bird was being cooked alive. It tried in vain to escape from me. I hurried with the water hose and sprayed a fine mist over the poor thing. It understood that I wasn’t trying to hurt it. It finally broke loose from the hot tar and glided to the ground. It was too tired to move. It just layed there.I continued to cool it off with a fine mist.Then I thought that the local tom cat would surely eat it. I ran downstairs
    and as I approached it, it flapped its soaked wings and made it to the top of a six foot concrete fence. I continued to cool it off with the fine mist of cool water.It was one of those 100 degrees in the shade days. It’s feet looked swollen and burnt. I couldn’t tell if it was tar or blisters but it looked bad either way.That bird hung around my back yard for a long time and it would visit me daily and stare at me as I worked on my hobbies in my back yard.Weeks after that I was on a construction job miles away and I saw what appeared to be the same bird. It looked exactly the same! Could it have followed me to work? Could there have been another that had landed on a hot tar roof and suffered the same injuries? If it wasn’t the same bird, then why did it follow me all around the jobsite and land near me and show no fear of me? I can’t remember the last time I saw it,but I wish it well and I am glad I saved it from a horrible death.
    Nick Costa in Davie, Florida

  • Jennifer Gill

    Good for you, Nick! I wish more people would be so kind to birds.

  • gail anderson

    I witness this: I was waiting for a freind when a crow flew to a brick wall and with his beek was taking out some cement. I thought the crow was eating it but what he did amazed me. he put some crement in his mouth/beek and it look like he was rolling it around in his mouth. then he flew away to a near by tree where I could see he was building a nest. I got out my car not to distrub the crow but saw he was putting the cement between the twigs and debree for his next. he flew back to the cement area and did the same thing….. I swear these crows are getting smarter

  • Sheila Garcia

    I live in a small coastal village in Central California. Our house is a focal point for many crows. At first, it was disturbing as they would knock on our roof and talk to us incessantly when we appeared.
    Then, I began to have a connection with them and I would talk back. They would sit and intently look at me and actually move closer. I mentioned to my husband that they seemed to recognize me.
    The most memorable experience happened as my husband, who is an early riser, was sitting on the couch at 5AM. Drinking his first cup of coffee, a knock came on the front door. He got up and checked to see who could possibly be visiting at that time. Looking out the window, there stood a crow in the process of ‘knocking’ with his beak.
    Crows have been tagged as ‘messengers’ since the beginning of civilizations’ encounters with them. I now believe that our visitor was and is trying to tell us things that are important to…???? That’s the mystery!
    Personally, I am a writer and they have also been connected to us, the most memorable possibly being Mr. Poe. (I realize he had a raven in his lore) I am in the middle of writing my next book which involves the need to evolve…and it is a struggle. I believe their message to me is to persevere.

  • Thinker

    This was INCREDIBLE. The only error I see is that the intelligence was assumed to be limited to just crows. Everyone should watch this!

  • Sally Todd

    I have been writting about growing up with a member of my family. His name was Elmer and he was a crow. He came to us when he was a little orphened baby. My older brother named and took care of him. Elmer sat in the grape-arbor next to the walkway to the back door. We all talked to him, petted him, and with him watched flocks of crows fly over wondering when he would go with them, but he never did.
    I was thrilled to read Kathy’s comment on Oct. 25, about hearing a crow saying “Hello”, because that was one of Elmer’s first words. He repeated many, imitating a voice perfectly. When the family moved from Mansfield, Ohio to Gulfport, Mississippi for the duration of World War II, ,naturally Elmer went too. So down south his “hello” became “Hi, y’all”.
    Elmer loved to play tricks and entertain, so I have many stories to tell about him. We enjoyed him for seven years before he died. We were all heart broken.
    Now I am wondering if there was ever another one like Elmer.

  • Kendra

    Please do another program on crows, besides this introduction. I found it very interesting!!!!!

  • Jentastic

    “I walked a little closer and it was absolutely those crows making this phantasmagoric mixture of sounds even the most advanced of aliens would have been impressed by, I’m sure. One of the crows even had a yellow beak. I walked on so as not to disturb their further cogitations.”

    Robert S. – I believe these were european starlings that you were seeing.

  • SarahM

    I happened upon this site because the largest murder of crows I have seen flies over the USM Campus every afternoon at about the same time. I’ve heard that crows meet up with other crows and have social gatherings to feed and wondered if this large group may be flying over to the supermarkets a few blocks away.

    I loved reading all the anecdotes people posted and would like to add my own. About 7 crows lived in the pine trees above our house and growing up they would call to each other. I started mimicking the calls, as did my sister. Depending on what call was used, the crows would all fly in or just one would call back and forth. My sister and I thought that we recognized differences between them and that they recognized us, calling when we went outside but ignoring our parents. It’s really nice to have confirmation that they can recognize individuals.
    I also wanted to add that as a young girl exploring the woods, oftentimes these same crows would fly across the field and into the woods with me. I always felt safe when they were around since they could see more than I could and would fly up in startlement if there were any hikers nearby. Plus, they would call lazily back and forth when relaxed but uttered sharp quick caws if there was a problem – like natural “stranger” detectors.

  • Haberuvi
  • dt harris

    I just saw this show yesterday evening, and wow. Humans using their heads to understand, live in, and share the world around them, without the baggage trap-and-turf of vanity and pomposity — is an inspired thing to witness. Our ability to see ourselves, living in a living world, is the heart of who-we-are “smart,” and the living thing in science, art, and education. Thanks, Susan Fleming and everyone involved, for showing this.

  • bibliona

    I loved this show, and found much to admire in crows. I even felt sad about White Wing.

    However, if the parent crows considered the scientists wearing masks as ‘bad guys’ because the scientists wore masks as they caught and tagged the parents, why didn’t the baby crows recognize their real faces as ‘bad guys’ when they themselves were caught and tagged? I didn’t see any masks on the scientists when they tagged the babies, but there was no scolding when the scientists passed by without a mask.

  • T Stephan

    In Buffalo NY every dawn the largest “migration” of crows I have ever seen journeys from Forest Lawn Cemetary across the city (their flight path is directly over my house) to the Niagara River/Lake Erie shores for the day. Then again at dusk they all come back again at the same time in a large group back to the cemetary for the night. It really is a most bizarre sight, but I feel lucky everytime I get to see it.

  • Lal De Silva(Srilanka)

    Thank you so much to the Nature team that open the door to reveal our stories about Crows,I am from the mountain region of Srilanka, our crows are Large billed Crows,my wife used to feed cooked rice every day to this particular crow, he always follow her when she is working in the garden or when she put on clothes out side to dry what ever she does out door,as a ritual we pick some flowers exactly 5.30 evening and offering to Buddha, one evening she was late to pick the flowers,amazing this her friend crow was holding a flower in his beak and waiting in the door step waiting for her, actually we all cried so emotional. unbelievable incident.

  • Daniel

    About Buffalo’s Forest Lawn gatherings: Yesterday (Jan 24) I was watching them arrive at the cemetery (I work there), and noticed that they were quiet until they got overhead & then started to call. All of the crows were making the same sound, and it struck me that something bad had or was going to happen. Also noticed that they were taking a slight detour from a straight line, flying near the gate, and were turning their heads to look at something. Sure enough, I found a large dead crow near the gate, face down on the snow. After I scooped it up & hid it, the looking and the calling stopped.

    The night before our last big snowstorm, the flock was extra huge but very quiet – I knew they were expecting bad weather, and they were correct. Crows are fascinating creatures, and I enjoy their winter-only flocking at the cemetery.

  • Kristen Bieger

    Hey, I have LOTS of showing and prize winning chickens for sale!!! They are $10 each. They lay lots of colorful eggs too! The types of chickens I have are Appenzellers, Jersey Giants, and Americanus. The Appenzellers lay white eggs, The Jersey Giants lay brown eggs, and the Americanus lay green and blue eggs. Please tell me if you are interested!!! Thank You!!! =)

  • deede

    What a wonderful program. I grew up in a small town. It was observed numerous times, according to my grandmother and other townspeople, that it was observed through generations, when a crow sitting on a roof-top, sometimes for days making crying/special sounds, is a bad sign. Indeed, pretty soon after, an elderly person living in that house died. It was their beliefe, crows live much much longer, than 20 years.

  • Bobbi

    Will this be shown again in 2011?

  • andrescolombo

    wow..that is amazing..yeah definitely please keep me informed and always email me with these great awesome stories-I look forward in seeing what our incredible world has to offer us.–Colombo

  • Donna

    This episode is airing tonight at 7 central time and again at 4 am on Tuesday morning (2011) for anybody interested

  • Sean Chandler

    I love crows, and have always known they were intelligent. Also, they have nice shiny black beaks.

  • Jojo

    I have crows in my backyard everyday! Will record this in my DVR and watch it! Don’t know much about them, but I’ve copied their cawing from time to time! They drink from my dog’s water pale, and I think they eat some of the spilled dog food sometimes.

  • Christy Marsh

    I can’t find it on my Comcast schedule tonight in the Seattle area? Any ideas when it might be airing?

  • jac

    Not everyone has that darn flash player.
    Why not be nice and make possible for all
    to enjoy through mp3 player ?

  • Jekel

    I don’t see it in the TV listings. When does it air in the Seattle market?

  • maria

    I never paid much attention to crows except one day I was on my way to work and I heard this plaintive cry from a crow and it was more than the usual noisy crow and I looked around to see this guy walking around and obviously not happy. I had no idea he was a young crow (because he was so big) who had apparently fallen out of the nest but didn’t know how to fly. I was late for work but I worried about it all day so when I got home, he was across the street in a neighbors yard and the sprinklers were on and he was drinking the water and you could hear his parents above screaming. I called so many places but they were all closed and then my vet suggested a woman in Topanga Canyon. I put him in a cat carrier with some water overnight on my front porch and the next day we traveled to this sanctuary. She said he was a baby and he still had blue eyes so she nursed him and then called me in 6 weeks and said he was ready to be released because they are territorial and any crow out there where she was would kill him. So I went back to get him and then released him in the same place I found him hoping his parents would find him but he came back everyday crying for me and making a racket so I started feeding him peanuts and nuts and then a whole family of crows started coming, much to the dislike of my neighbors. He (they) knew my car, they knew what time I came and went and they followed me everywhere. I became so interested in crows thereafter only to find out they are probably the smartest birds on the planet. I love them and learned to appreciate them but if you don’t want a problem on your hands, don’t feed them. Sorry for the long post but I wanted to tell my story.

  • Jeremiah

    Watched this last night and thought this was very interesting.

  • susan D. Frampton

    Crows are very fascinating. We always have 3 each summer that chase the hawks and owls. They call on others when there seems to be a real problem.The other birds listen and react. In the winter, we often have hundreds flock in our trees during a pre-storm or a storm event. Sort of scary. They definately communicate and there are always distinct leaders. It is almost like a convention or town board meeting…then suddenly they all fly off. I have taken pictures of them congregating in the snow covered trees. Certain seasons, Spring and late Fall/winter they fly in mass over my house. Early in the morning and just before dark. I can only think that they colonize to travel to the landfill in search of food. The soaring (especially if it is windy), interaction and different noises are amazing!

  • http://raleighjobsx.com/ Jobs in Raleigh

    Well The Crow was a great movie too. :P

  • Diane M Leyden

    I missed the airing of this episode but heard so much about it from my sisters, I would absolutely love it if you would PLEASE run it again. Thanks, D

  • Fermin Kopke

    A little brother sequel?!?!?!?Thank you Mr. Doctorow, now I have to change my pants.

  • Tegan Liccketto

    Somehow, inflation has suddenly reversed. Oil now sits at $96 a barrel and RBOB gas is down 38 cents for the week as I write this post. My gold and especially silver got absolutely killed this week. I can not believe I am say this, but I now think we are going back into deflation. It does not make sense with all the reckless money printing, but it is happening regardless.

  • 47401

    Hi my family member! I wish to say that this post is amazing, great written and come with approximately all significant infos. I would like to see extra posts like this .

  • Marge Brandwein

    Honda 2011 and 2012 New Car Buying Tips for Canadians

  • Risa Arnow

    This is a cool circuit, LM3909 has been discontinued, but can still be found. Ordered a few from Ebay yesterday. Can’t wait till I get a chance to build this circuit!

  • Useful piece,In my opinion you’ve without a doubt constructed a web page I need to come back to more often. Great stuff.

    Can I simply say what a relief to seek out someone who really is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You undoubtedly know the way to convey a difficulty to light and make it important. Extra people must read this and perceive this facet of the story. I cant believe youre not more widespread because you undoubtedly have the gift.

  • Pat Payne

    You are respectfully invited to visit our Crow friend Shadow whom I’ve written a book about, THE SUMMER OF SHADOW. To quote from one of the book’s reviewers, M. Westerfield of Crows.net: “A simple, straightforward yet magical story about raising a young crow. The book is good reading for adults and would be a particularly good read for youngsters discovering the magic of our natural world.”
    Check it out on amazon.com for further description and information. Available as an e-book as well as soft cover. A lot of good photos of this young orphaned bird, and his dog friend Murphy, earning his wings and finding his place back with his natural family in the Ozark hills near St. Louis, MO.

  • Thomas Arnow

    I can’t find it on my Comcast schedule tonight in the Seattle area? Any ideas when it might be airing? buy edu backlinks

  • http://www.niezyt-nosa.waw.pl niezyt nosa

    Complete and very clear written! Thank you for this helpful information.

  • http://lipinjections.info/2011/11/26/lip-augmentation-makes-your-lips-to-smile-younger/ Lip Augmentation – Makes Your Lips Smile Younger

    Websites worth visiting…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]……

  • John Wilis

    Growing up in the west suburbs of Chicago, we had lots of woods surrounding our house. I had many encounters
    with several animals, but the experience I remember most was….one day while leaving the house to go out, I caught movement from the corner of my eye. Something black running through the piles of leaves in our yard.
    I quickly jumped out of the car( barely getting it into park), and ran towards the movement. And there to my surprise was a large Crow, it seemed he could not fly. I know he was injured because they never really let humans get very close to them. I took off my Jean Jacket and reached down and scooped him up. I rushed over to one of our out-buildings and released him inside to see how he would behave, he had something wrong with his wing. So i decided to nurse him back to health, feeding him , holding him to calm his nerves ….and everyday after school I would let him perch on my arm and take him out to the yard to see if i could make him fly. Daily he would try to take flight, and only crash beak first in the grass….it was sad. Many weeks went by and I feared he would not recover. My parents thought I was strange for looking after the large scary bird. Then one day , It happened !!!

    I took him out for his daily flying lesson….perched on my arm….and me running across the yard, the November wind blowing….and I was hoping . Then , the Crow finally started flapping his wings, he looked towards the sky and like a flash he was air-born. I watched as he soared upwards stronger and stronger. I laughed so hard, I cried…Jumping up and down yelling to him ” Go Go…..it was amazing….and also sad at the same time.
    He was gone !!!

    Months Later, long forgotten ….I was called to the breakfast table, while eating my dad said ” I think your bird was outside this morning”. I thought to my self, no way !! Then I heard the cawing and looked up outside the kitchen window, and there he was…staring at me from our roof. i grabbed my toast and ran to the door, when I came out, he glided down to the brick patio and cawed at me, I began to feed him and he got closer. I asked my dad how is this possible? He said maybe he just came back to say Thank you”.

  • coats on sale

    Your article is well written, I have reproduced it to my site http://www.coatsonsale.org

  • jilbab

    Thanks a lot, Tucker. I’ll keep an eye out, and if not, I’ll make my own.

  • suntrust online logon

    Glad to have found out about this site really enjoyed it and will come back to explore when I am not so busy.

  • a online banking

    Hey! I have been looking for this, that’s great!But how can you “unshare” the x axis?Is it possible to share x axis after the different subplots have been created?ThanksP

  • Single Cup Coffee Maker 12 Oz

    I’ll right away clutch your rss feed as I can’t in finding your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me understand in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  • banking online a

    My brother recommended I might like this website. He used to be entirely right. This submit actually made my day. You can not imagine just how so much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  • Desiree Sawlivich

    It is indeed my belief that mesothelioma is most fatal cancer. It contains unusual attributes. The more I really look at it the harder I am persuaded it does not respond like a real solid cells cancer. If mesothelioma can be a rogue virus-like infection, then there is the probability of developing a vaccine plus offering vaccination for asbestos exposed people who are at high risk of developing upcoming asbestos connected malignancies. Thanks for discussing your ideas on this important ailment.

  • Jolynne

    @ Sally: We had a neighbor when I was a a little girl who had a crow named Amos. I remember being so shocked to hear Amos talk! He would say his name and hello. So yes, there are other Elmers out there :)

  • http://www.authenticneworleanssaints.us/jimmy-graham-jersey/new-orleans-saints-80-jimmy-graham-white-replica-jersey.html Jimmy Graham Replica Jersey White

    oods. This fat loss program is different from the usual calorie counting systems other programs for http://www.tarsandlove.com/node/2256 ,losing fat use. It presents a completely new way for people to lose weight.How this fat loss program works is you give them inform

  • JD

    This show was truly fascinating.
    I guess a love/hate relationship with crows. They are definitely smart animals and deserve some admiration.
    At the same time, they simply drive me nuts. They are loud, wake me up early on the week-ends with their annoying discussions, they go after the trash bins on our street… they are all over the place. Would love some tips on how to chase them away.

  • Len Welsh

    The show is interesting, but I’m having a hard time understanding how I could sit through an hour of worship of these birds without even a mention of crows’ close cousins the ravens, for which there is probably a longer standing and more definitive body of research.

    How there could be no mention of the remarkable work done by Bernd Heinrich is beyond me. The university folks doing their little research essay on transfer of knowledge from generation to generation of crows was a nice vignette, but it pales in comparison to the massive work done by Dr. Heinrich, who actually lived in the wild for months at a time studying ravens all over the globe. His work over the decades created the basic research paradigm from which all modern behavioral work on the Corvidae, a family that includes ravens, crows, jays, and similar very interesting birds, has sprung.

    The Nature piece even managed to make reference to the Konrad Lorenz Institute, without uttering a peep about the remarkable account of the behavior of a raven Dr. Lorenz kept at the famous compound he described in his book, “King Solomon”s Ring.”

    It just seemed a little childish and ignorant to try to paint crows as the smartest of birds. Why does it always have to come down to nominating the champion? Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t. I don’t think that will ever really be known, but there is a gold mine of challenge offered by the whole family of Corvidae to our simplistic notions about intelligence in animals.

    And it is as sad as the Corvidae are remarkable that all of these wonderful creatures are the subject of so many attempts at extermination. At least the Nature piece managed to get in that these birds always manage to stay a step or two ahead of the exterminators. I hope that will always be true.

  • Kaye

    I lived in a place with a huge fir tree at the end of the driveway; crows nesting too high up for me to reach.
    One morning I discovered a baby crow at my back door standing beside my cat. When I let the cat in the crow hopped in too. I put it outside and even though it’s parents were flying in to feed and care, it stayed on the porch and my cat waited inside the door until nightfall. I got a cardboard box, put the bird in and set it in the kitchen. The cat jumped in and went to sleep, crow snuggled against her belly.
    For the next few weeks I put the box at the foot of the tree while I went to work so the parents could do their thing and would bring it in each night. Before long the crow half-grown and chasing the cat around my place. Once it started to try learn to fly and lamps or table items were frequently knocked to the floor, I decided to teach it to fly properly.
    Saturday morning I went out with Crow on my arm, and would move fast enough to get the bird to flap it’s wings. Mr. & Mrs. Crow were concerned at first, but then just sat in the tree watching, cawing out the occasional instruction or comment. Slowly also, gathered people from the neighbourhood to watch the strange sideshow of this nutty woman running around the front yard with a flapping crow on her arm.
    Once the bird began flapping regularly and evenly, I started to toss it in the air a bit so it would fly to the ground, further out each time. After about half hour, it finally flew up and on to the limb by it’s parents where it was greeted with loving grooms amid the applause and cheers of it’s audience below. The good relationship between those crows, my cat and myself continued over the next year until I moved away.
    Two years later, after marrying one of the neighbours and moving back 3 houses away from the tree, a crow came to visit many times. I realized it was either baby or parent from the fir tree.
    The following spring, about 6 am I could hear something at the living room window. I got out of bed to find the crow trying to hang on the sill, beating its wings against the glass. I went outside and it immediately flew to the ground and walked hurriedly along the side of the house to the backyard, so I followed.
    There in the garden, tangled in tomato netting, was a baby crow. I bent down to help, my crow standing beside me, but being seriously clawed and poked in the back of the head by its mate. I had to go back in for scissors, but also grabbed a heavy coat, goggles and hat. Cutting the baby free took a few minutes, then it hopped away under some shrubs, mean crow and mine went with it. I removed all the netting, never to use anything like it again.
    I have often thought of that day, how that crow came to get help. No one can tell me crows don’t think, nor that they don’t have feelings. They will always impress me.

  • cond rly

    When i was a young teenager I raised a young crow and knew they were very smart,later in life I worked as a
    conductor for a railroad and while waiting for my train to leave the yard in New Castle, PA. my engineer said
    that a crow flew into the rear engine, I thought that it hit the window and the engineer said no the crow is in the
    cab so I walked back into the rear engine and seen the crow eating the unfinished lunch of the last crew. I’ll
    always try to feed them when they are around my train and it seems that they follow my engine that makes a
    two mile trip.

  • Aaron Sonego

    Excellent show. Am looking forward to the rebroadcast. Did not know the extent of a crow’s intelligence. Have spent time looking at the crows that live near me and wondered what and if they are thinking. Notice that sometimes they tolerate my curiosity more than at other times. Have yet to get a great picture of one, but will continue to attempt this.

  • Dianne Wing

    Cannot wait to watch this! Crows are fasinating and intelligent creatures.

  • Justin

    Very interesting, and here I thought crows were STUPID….guess I am the stupid one.

  • JesseMcLeod

    I remember about 25 years ago when my dad was alive he told me about a conversation he had with a friend about a farmer that friend knew. The farmer stated that crows can count. He said that he and some family friends were sitting around on the back porch one evening and someone commented on how the crows that hung around the farm did not go near the barn if there was a human in the barn.

    After some consideration it was decided that five of the group would go into the barn as a group, but only four would leave as a group after a few minutes to see if the crows would know that a human was still in the barn.
    They did this and the crows would not go near the barn.

    Then they tried it with five going into the barn as a group and staying for a few minutes and then all five walking out as a group. When all five walked out as a group and had left the barn then the crows flew back down to the barn.

    The farmer remarked to my dad’s friend that those crows were smarter than some people because some people cannot count to five, and they all had a good laugh.

  • Britt

    So glad I was able to see this. I have always enjoyed watching crows, glad to know a bit more about them,

  • Melinda Steffler

    2 years ago I found a fledgling crow stuck in between two houses. I waited to see if he could get out but eventually figured out he was too weak. After fishing him out I checked his feet, it looked liked he had been on the ground for awhile. I fed him some canned cat food and lots of water, wrapped him up tight in a towel and left him to rest for a few hours in a laundry basket. When I took him outside, i checked his wings over to see if he could flap and make sure there was no injuries. Tried a couple test flights with my hand over his feet that were gripping my other hand and I judged him ready to go. I climbed up an old fire escape that was surrounded by trees, set him on the rail and waited. About a half hour went by and he finally hopped onto a tree branch. Then he started squawking! Mom and dad were there in about a minute. That whole summer every time the crow crew in my neighborhood saw me they would all start making a racket! Now I know why! Awesome show!

  • Mera Jetton Kohler

    For a time, we had what might be called pet crows. Early on they learned I would throw a few saltines out the front door onto the driveway, but only if they sat up on the gutter. This all began because they, startled, would fly to the gutter when I would open the door. It didn’t take long for them to realize they would not get the crackers if they milled around on the driveway. They had to sit on the gutter.
    Our favorite crow was very distinguishable because he had obviously broken a leg early in life and walked with a distinct limp. Our young daughters named him “Limpy.” Limpy was obviously the top crow. He would fly to the gutter first. Others would follow. Limpy always arrived with his mate, whom we called Strutter. He usually got first dibs on the crackers, but sometimes he would wait until other crows arrived and let them eat first. Most interesting is Limpy knew exactly when we would be eating lunch or dinner. He would land on the gutter, look at us through the kitchen window and begin to scratch his claws to make a noise to get our attention. In the fall, I saw Limpy and others hiding the crackers in fallen leaves for later use.
    I am still amazed with the varied sounds of crows’ voices, from the soft rattle – a sort of affection – to the desperate cry of alarm when a predator was present (in one case a seemingly lost juvenile snowy owl perched in a tree in our backyard.) I’ve learned the sound of babies being fed, and watched young crows try to eat our geraniums once they set out on their own. Many times, the babies didn’t survive and were found dead in the road, run over by cars.
    I’ve seen crows snatch baby Mallard ducks from their nests to feed to their young. I’ve watched them sit waiting for scraps as a bald eagle devoured an adult Mallard on a snowy bank on West Grand Traverse Bay. All the while, I have felt a great connection with crows We lost the “pet” aspect when we moved out of our house during remodeling in 2005. We removed the gutters outside the kitchen, and the crows never returned in the same way. We never saw Limpy again.
    Had to write all this down! Only caught the last 20 minutes of your program but can’t wait to see the entirety of it.

  • Sally Beers

    Just saw this wonderful show and read some of the above fascinating posts about crows. I too had a memorable experience about 8 years ago in the Estancia, NM area.

    I walked outside to my barn and saw a few crows flying overhead, one had what looked like a large , white egg in it’s beak. I yelled up, “What’s that in your beak”, walked back toward the house and heard something hit the ground. The crow dropped a golf ball where I just was. I laughed and went inside. Not much later I went outside, the golf ball was gone which made me think the crow came back for it. A week later I told the story to a bean farmer in the valley and she said, “Oh we’ve found so many golf balls in our fields, and always wondered how they got there when the closest golf course is about 35 miles away”. It sounds to me like they have well developed sense of play.

  • Denny

    A very good representation of the information I learned 45+ years ago as an “orchard protective huner”. Crows are smart! a hunter does not want to kill a crow, because the flock will fly away, a wounded crow causes the flock to land and watch. This allows a concealed hunter to snipe additional crows before the the original target dies. Several additional crows may be exterminated before the first crow dies. Once the first crow dies all the crows become silent, then systematicly fly away. Magpies behave in a similar mannor, but crows are by far smarter. I apologize for my behavior, this was an economic necissiity. If the authors would like more informarion please feel free to contact me.

  • al gold

    we live where a female white goose raises canadian goose chicks every year they are not hers but somehow she manages to adopt these chicks and teach them all the means of fishing food and survival ..how she gets the chicks is not known whether from the eggs or after they are born we dont know they dont look like her but once in her care she raises them as her own ….they dont leave her side…….she is in charge and the other canadian geese let her take over ..this has been going on for years ..she also reconizes when we stop and talk to her she also talks to the canadian geese and they seem to understand her..she is a remarkable goose and we look forward to seeing her raise new little ones again this spring..

  • al gold

    when our son was young he brought home a pigeon with a damaged wing and he put it in a box and cared for the bird until it was able to go back to the sky..he was upset that the bird had to go but happy to release the bird back into the wild ..

  • Michael Holstein

    Here are several ways crows are smarter or at least more suitable to take college classes than the typical 18-22-year-old human set (IMHO):

    1) crows are not afraid to speak in a group
    2) crows have a loud social voice and a quiet voice for intimate conversations
    3) crows can make tools to solve their problems
    4) crows can think at least three moves ahead
    5) crows can test hypotheses, reject those that don’t work, and keep trying
    6) crows can innovate with materials at hand
    7) crows pay strict attention and take mental notes
    8) crows learn from experience and remember
    9) crows know that actions have consequences
    10) crows have strong family bonds and pitch in

    I’m not saying that some homo sap saps aren’t capable of some or all of these traits, but every corvus corvidae seemed capable of every behavior. Thanks for the program.

  • joy

    I love these birds they are so beautiful, I have been feeding them peanuts in the shell along with a squirrel population for the past two years…I had to stop because I acquired an assistant dog who might eat my wild friends offerings….they all still visit my yard to look for food after not putting any out for over a year…I feel bad that I cannot feed them but being in a wheelchair and needing my beautiful dog I cannot risk my dog getting any other food…I used to talk with them as I watched behind my screen door they in turn called to me as they sat on my fence…and I heard the alarm being sounded from those in the trees when a cat would come around…

  • Amaya

    I needed something to do a report for school on and I couldn’t think. I sat down on the couch and wanted to watch some TV but I couldn’t find the remote so I was stuck watching this. After it finished I was glad I didn’t or wasn’t able to change the channel. I knew exactly what I was going to do for my report!!!! CROWS!!!!

  • barbara

    the crows are my friends. i have 5 cats and live in the foothills of the Rockies where we have many predators (of cats and me i guess). so when my cats and i go out (together), i spend my time running around our acreage looking for the cats to protect them while they get to play outside. unfortunately they hide on me. after years of observation, there is a recurring experience between my cats, my crows and me. the crows go to the tree canopy above the hiding cat and caw (crow talk) to let me know where to find the cat. the first couple of times i thought it was a coincidence but after about 10 times, i realized their camaraderie. the cats picked up on it right away but see it a bit differently than me. when the crows are not around as is periodically the case, the female ground squirrels are my alarms. i am glad for the recent TV show to bring appreciation for the crows.

  • Michael Westerfield

    Dear Friend of Crows,

    crows.net has begun a petition to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to repeal the regulations allowing states to have crow hunting seasons and to prohibit sport hunting of crows in the United States. Please use the link below to get to the petition on change.org. It only takes a minute or so to sign and it could help make the difference between life and death for America’s crows.


    It would be great if you could pass this email message along to everyone you know and also post it on any social media you use.

    Michael Westerfield

  • Gail Harris

    Please if anyone has any info on releasing wild crow babies that have been admitted to care by those of us licensed to rehab wildlife….if they are hand raised as orphans can they be released into the wild in any other environment other than the murder into which they were born??? MY situation is one that I can not release them back to where they came from (theme park orphans). I have released many in the past years but feel they don’t survive long term even in the the beautiful pristine environment of my rural farm!

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2014 THIRTEEN Productions LLC. All rights reserved.

PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.