• Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Share your “creative crow” story!  If you don’t have one, spend some time observing these clever birds, and tell us any evidence of intelligent behavior you notice.
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    • Mike
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      I am in the habit of dropping lumps of suet about my back yard.  I have enjoyed watching my local crow family expand their daily search pattern around my back yard looking for the suet as they know that I don't just Leave treats in one spot near the song bird feeders.  The crow family loves the suet treats and almost look proud when they strut around with their prize.
    • Becky
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I was feeding a family of crows at home. One of them had one leg. I'm not good at crow recognition, but I knew my one-legged crow, whom I called Bill. One day I was out for a walk in another part of town, and as I approached my car I saw crows in the parking lot. They let me approach fairly close without flying away, which was unusual. Then I saw Bill among them, and it all became clear. These were the crows I fed at home; they were out foraging, and they'd seen my car. The only problem was, I had no peanuts to give them! I frantically searched my bag and found some unsalted almonds I was saving for a snack, and left a handful on a rock for them. I didn't see if the crows accepted my offering of almonds or not. It wasn't the usual meal I left them. But the crows recognizing me and my car totally threw me - it was the first time I'd experienced this.
    • I was walking home one afternoon when I noticed a crow sitting on a lamp post. As I approached, the crow intentionally dropped a nut in front of my path (a walnut, if I recall correctly). I had seen a documentary about crows and learned that they would drop nuts in front of cars so the vehicles would crack the shells and the crows could retrieve the nuts. I stomped on the walnut, cracking it, and kept walking. A little while I later I looked back and sure enough, the crow flew down to retrieve the nut. What a creative bird.
    • carmen
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I work at the Education Dept of a Wildlife Sanctuary. We rehabilitated a Crow and then set him free when he was OK again and good to go. He apparently liked to be with us and didn’t want to leave. He kept following me, coming when I called him, meet me in my car as I drove in daily and landing on my head as I did an education tour.  I named him Little CrowCrow and wrote 2 books about him for children and put videos on YoutTube titled: The Learning Adventures of Little CrowCrow. One day, I was playing with him, and he was only half playing back with me, he kept looking over to a flock of Ibis to the right of where we were. I stated to look at what he was looking at. He was watching one particular Ibis which had separated from the flock and was foraging for insects or worms. When he say it had found some grub, he looked at me  and just as fast flew like a bullet towards the unsuspecting Ibis who was about 30 feet away. I stood frozen, watching him, praying he was not going to hurt it. What he did was swoop the food the Ibis had found right out of his beak, before the Ibis even realized it, and fly up to a tree branch to eat it. I realized then that he had figured out that if he hung around the Ibis, monitored the ones foraging, and do a fast surprise fly and grab, it was an easy way for him to obtain food!
    • deb
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Our crow couple show up about the same time(s) daily.  At first, they would wait on a roof across the street or on the street light a few feet from our house.  We would leave the house approx the same time to walk our dog and for our dogs return, we would leave a treat of a small cement Garden Gargoyle.  We started coming back from our walk and the treat was not there.  We finally looked at our Ring camera video and saw it was the couple flying in when we got about 1/2 block away. They waddled up to the gargoyle when one kept guard.   It’s been a few years now and they caw when we are supposed to be coming out to walk our dog and when we do leave they fly in and follow us for about a couple of blocks and we sometimes drop a dog treat . Eventually they started hanging out on our back fence, where I now leave kibble and nuts and a water tray.  They have trained me to give them breakfast and an evening snack.  One (Clubfoot)  lets me get about 3 feet away and keeps that distance. we have a lot of soldier ants in mid to late summer and they started to go after the crow food that was left from the day before sometimes.  One morning, I could see from the window that Clubfoot and his partner wouldn’t go near the food.  They were cawing angrily.  I went out and saw the trail of the soldier ants and then the mass eating the kibble.  I got the hose spray them off and put new food out and breakfast was served!
    • Dawn
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      I think the crow family in my neighborhood recognizes the squeaky hinge of my front door.  They are often in the yard waiting for me (and the peanuts) by the time I get to the sidewalk.  They also know my dog and followed my son around the block with her when I was gone for a month expecting there to be some peanuts.
    • Gwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      My grandparents are BIG bird people, like me and they feed the crows of our town. and every so often the crows will bring them things. like rocks or pinecones. I always thought it was so interesting, it's like the crow's way of saying thank you for feeding them.
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Soon after I learned crows like peanuts, I threw a small handful into a clay pot hanging on a fence near our  bird feeders and our squirrel neighbors foraging everywhere they can find a morsel.  All this is hung over with November leafless tree branches.  So, I didn’t have much hope of a crow finding the peanuts before the squirrels ran off with them.  Not long after I threw out the peanuts, there was a crow pecking at and eating peanuts, hopping in and out of squirrels who were running in and taking them off.  The next day, I threw out a few more than I had the first day.  Two crows showed up and had a peanut snack.  Third day, three or four crows.  On the fourth day, there were 5 or 6 crows and they were cawing and cawing before I had come out of the house to throw them the peanuts!  I could see where this was going.  That was the last day I put out any peanuts.  They may have come back to check, but I haven’t seen any since the fourth day.  I may start again, but maybe further from the house!
    • Ruth
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      I have been trying to make friends with the grey-necked crows in my neighborhood, by feeding them on a more regular basis.  The other day, I left out their favorite food and greeted them in a non-threatening way through an open window, hoping they would associate my voice with me and the food.  After awhile, one crow brought something in its beak and set it down before taking food and leaving.  It was a bone!  Which I understand is one of the types of items they "gift."  I can't be sure, but I'd like to think it is the first in a series of gifts. I have also witnessed a crow poking about and picking up a plastic food container at a trash can.  It was clear so the food could be seen.  The bird was puzzling over how to open it with a perseverance that I would definitely associate with intelligence ... but I was passing through and couldn't stop to observe. On another occasion, at an outdoor restaurant, I witnessed a very street-savvy crow swoop down to the next table and pull out a sugar packet, hold it upright between it's legs, peck it open and eat the sugar.  I felt the sugar itself wasn't the objective so much as getting my attention to maybe drop some fries, because -- and this is obviously subjective -- the behavior had a performative quality and once the crow had our amused attention, it didn't continue with the sugar packets.  And I did drop food, of course.
    • james
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      i have a group of crows that i regularly visit.  They have gotten to know me the last 3 years, and now recognize me no matter what i wear, and come flying and cawing from far away when i arrive. I think thats pretty clever. i feed them cashews, and sometimes one will fall between cracks on the rocky part of the beach.  Some of them just keep waiting for another, but once in a while they will carefully lift and remove several rocks to get to the cashew down below. sometimes, i will place a cashew under a shell or rock and walk away.  Although not all of them realize its there, some of them will carefully lift the rock or shell and claim their prize . a couple of  times, i spotted an eagle standing on the sand in the area where my beach crow friends usually hang out.  And while sometimes the group will sound the alarm, on two occasions i watched as a lone crow carefully approached the eagle. Pausing every so often. Until it was within inches, then the crow would nip and pull the eagle's tail feathers, causng it to flap its wings out a bit and look around. The crow would hop back, but only a foot or two, then would do it again. One of those times, the crow then simply started walking and foraging right near the eagle as though it wasnt there.  This seemed intelligent and playful to me, because the crow obviously recognized that the eagle was a lethal danger, but he sort of did a risk assessment based on the eagles responses and stayed in the area anyway.
    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I have a shepherd's hook that I use to feed blue jays.  The crows always seem to want to eat from the top of the shed.  They will eat peanuts on the ground in the winter when the shed roof is covered with snow.  Lately, they have been congregating around the shepherd's hook (the peanut wreath is right behind the baffle) and I know they are trying to figure out how to get peanuts out of there!A140B357-8483-428A-8B20-F1ABFD1A6E94_1_105_c
    • Tabatha
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Last summer I fed crows oatcakes in our backyard...until they started fighting over the oatcakes. One of them had a bunch of his feathers pulled out. This summer, I was afraid to feed them because I didn't want the fighting to start again. A crow put on a little play in my front yard, however, and I was like OK, fine! First he got my attention, which was unusual because I always interact with them in the backyard. Then he flew over to the garbage cans (it was garbage day and they were out for pick up) and he found a cracker, which he brought over to show me. "This is what I want," he seemed to indicate. Then he went to the backyard to see if I understood. Which I did, so I went and threw him oatcakes in the backyard. This summer, I have avoided fighting by dividing the oatcakes into small pieces so everybody can have some.
    • Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      When I was working I would commute by bus. It was not uncommon for a crow to be waiting for me in the afternoon when I disembarked. The crow would then follow me home; usually hopping down the street as I proceeded on the sidewalk. Of course, there was an objective for the crow; a treat once I arrived home. Crows are absolutely fascinating creatures and I thoroughly enjoy every interaction.
    • Alicia
      Participant
      Chirps: 24
      I don't have a personal creative crow story but I can't help but be reminded of Aesop's famous fable of The Crow and the Pitcher. So, it seems for hundreds of years, crows have been used as an example of intelligence and resourcefulness!
    • Once, we were birdwatching a Red-Tailed Hawk during Feederwatch last year and three crows flew by. One went right into some willow trees where many other birds nest, and, a couple seconds later, flew out with 15-30 other birds on his tail(almost litterally!). Then, the other two flew into the willows and one perched on the top, apparently on lookout. Then, after a short amount of time, they switched and then flew away. We think("we" as in me and my family) that they made a plan for it!
    • I didn't think I'd find myself feeding the neighborhood American Crow family here, especially after finding an online discussion forum in which people who'd set out to feed scrub jays reported crows chasing the scrub jays away from the feeding area. However, I found the small family of crows here to be teachable. The breeding male had been especially tenacious, over several months, about getting me to offer him peanuts. And I believe that his changing tactics, instead of trying the same thing over and over again is evidence of creative, intelligent behavior. At first, he tried positioning himself (hiding in a tree) to pounce down and take from the peanut pile I'd placed on the ground for the California Scrub-Jays. However, I'm in the habit of changing up where I put the peanuts, to keep things interesting, and this frustrated him. Then, he did try chasing the California Scrub Jays away from, and taking over, what he understood to be the "peanut feeding site." I couldn't reward the behavior so, in turn, I chased him with a very light spray of water from a hose (nothing aggressive because I'd like to take walks in my neighborhood without crows scolding and dive-bombing me!) and proceeded to feed the scrub jays in another part of the yard. Finally, he (sometimes accompanied by one or two others from his family) started making overtures to me. After getting a sense of my daily outdoor routine, at one point, he jumped down from the roof and spread his wings, making a "Foomf!" type of sound which resembled an umbrella or parachute opening, and then flew in an undulating figure-8 pattern just outside the fence and about eye-level to me. It was an impressive sight and gave me a sense of how large American Crows are compared to other songbirds. Then, at another point, when the California Scrub-Jay pair made their soft "kuk kuk" calls to me, the crows would fly closely overhead and give their rattle call. After that, how could I refuse? So here I am mostly maintaining two separate, socially-distanced peanut feeders for both parties (and trying to feed the crows responsibly in accordance to what I've heard about Northwestern Crow populations in the book In the Company of Crows and Ravens). However, at one point, when I had to hang the peanuts in one basket from a pole, a household member told me that she once observed the breeding male crow perched and waiting patiently for our scrub jay to pick out his peanuts and leave before flying over to the basket to get his own.
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Where I use to live, I had a fox being taunted by all the crows.  I would always know the fox was in the area because the crows would be announcing his coming.  They did this to him all summer.  I feared the poor fox would not be able to find any food due to the crows warnings.  Fortunately, the next season the fox returned and was not being taunted. Also, when we were kids, there was a friendly neighborhood crow that was rescued by a family a street away.  For some reason, the crow took a liking to my little brother.  He would fly to our house and hop to the front door.  We would open the door and he would come in and stay awhile.  We would give him corn, pet him and when he was ready to leave, he went to the door again to be let out.  He came by regularly that summer.  We assumed he'd moved on or got a mate when he stopped coming.  It was great fun.
    • Rachel
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      We like the book “ Arlo and Pips King of the Birds” which is a graphic comic book for kids about a crow and what he can do.
    • Dale
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Well, this is a fictional observation: It has been observed that crows are killed by trucks 10x as often than by cars when the number of each vehicle is taken into account. Interesting. Crows often/usually have a lookout bird. We have never hear a crow call, "truck-truck", but we have heard a crow call, "caw-caw" which is crow talk for "car". Sorry for the joke if you were offended in some way.
    • Isabella
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I've been feeding crows peanuts - only when I see them! - for the past few months. There are five resident families in the local park. Each family has its own way of responding to me. The Flying Two get my attention by flying around me, though they won't eat close to me. If I have wandered off their territory, they fly around me again to get me to come back and one will land where he wants the nuts. The Fluffy Heads eat close to me and call for more nuts.They have fluffy heads... The Playground Pair watch me from on high and fly down very acrobatically. The female always takes her nuts away, but the male will eat them if I'm not TOO close. If they are on the ground, the male walks over to me. I am being very gender stereotypical here in assuming the male is braver - but he seems a little bigger. The Top Two are often on the ground with their adolescent, Cool Dude. She is the most fascinating crow of all. She seems to be in and out of her family. At first she was always with her parents, but always the bravest. Then she started going it alone. But she'd get dive-bombed by one of the Flying Two or told off by the Fluffy Heads if she was too close to their patch. If attacked from above, she rolls over and kicks with her feet. Then stands up and shakes out her feathers before eating more nuts. If it's the Fluffy Heads, she will come closer to me than they dare come or will go on the other side of me - she uses me to protect her from the other crows. One time, when the Flying Two attacked, her parents rocked up and chased them away. Cool Dude opens the nuts and buries them. When she's done, she asks for more. This is incredible as she is demanding them not because she wants to eat them, but in order to save them. Then there's the Feisty Gang - a family of five. They bicker with the Flying Two and the Fluffy Heads - stealing peanuts from everyone. But I don't see them as often. The young ones are quite brave. Finally, the Driveway Duo. These two wait for me when I am leaving the park and then make their presence known by perching in an obvious place. If I don't see them, they fly around me. One of them was on a lamppost in a heavy storm. I thought s/he was waiting for me but in fact she was staring upwards into the rain. I wondered if s/he was drinking, but the beak was closed. Maybe s/he just liked it? That day, s/he wasn't interested in the nuts. They amaze me - they certainly recognised me almost at once - after the first lot of peanuts. One thing, I always go with my dog. One day, I went alone - and that day, the crows were suspicious!
    • Pat
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I’m in the habit of taking peanuts with me on my daily walk.  One day I passed a house where I frequently toss peanuts to a crow.  I was deep in thought and just walked on by.  Suddenly, a crow swooped by me, as close as I’ve ever had a crow fly by, looped around and perched back on his regularly tree.  Chastened, I backtracked and tossed him his peanuts.
      • Isabella
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        They do that to me too!
    • Maureen
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      I often wonder of crows have a sense of humour. When I was a child a long time ago, we had a neighbour lady who didn't appreciate the crow my sister rescued (she found it at the base of a tree alone; I know, mom and pop were probably nearby).  Our family had decided, once he could fly, he had to be free to join other crows if he chose but he could roost in the basement overnight, which he did for the remainder of his first summer. Blacky (such a creative name!) frequently stole things like shiny children's rings or Barbie shoes. He kept them in our eaves trough. One warm summer evening, the neighbours were all out in their yards chatting over the fences. Our neighbour lady was in her garden picking green beans into a basin she held. Our crow flew in from out of sight and,  in an instant, landed on her basin, stole a bean and was gone! The lady shrieked, and threw all beans and basin up in the air. The only one who wasn't laughing. Fast forward many years: We had a bird bath which several crows used to soak and tenderize dried up chicken and turkey scraps left out by well-meaning people or scavenged from the garbage. It became a problem so we had to take it down from time to time to wait for the crows to move on.
    • John
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Crows that visit my feeding station often chase hawks away.  It's fun to see their courage and persistence.
    • Jean
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      While going to my car in the SUNY Albany parking lot, I observed a crow picking fries out of a McDonald's bag and then bringing them over to an opened packet of catsup for dipping!
      • Isabella
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        No!!!! That's amazing!!!