How Smart are your Crows?

Guard crow
Guard crow

Crow Friends or Crow Enemies they know who we are. Can we say we know each other that well? How many times have you been betrayed by someone who you trusted?  We have a lot to learn from our crows.

The University of Washington has a study that has burned up the internet about how the crows recognize the researchers that banded them several years ago. They wore masks while they did this and whoever now wears those masks are dive bombed, scolded and recognized as the bad guy. This is true of not just the birds banded but their entire family. Generation after generation share who is naughty or nice.

This is also true of the people who treat crows well. If they are fed and treated with kindness  they remember that too.  My local crows bring their babies to our backyard because they know we will not harm them. In fact we will ensure they have food and water while the parents get some rest or they are trying to get the little ones to be a bit more independent.

An experience I had a few years ago is a juxtaposition of both good & bad people. I was feeding peanuts to my trail family one day. They had brought their babies close and were trying to show them how to open the shells. We started hearing a commotion from the trail below. Crows were cawing and flying around making a ruckus. The family got skittery and flew up in the madrona trees.

Next thing I know I hear a man yelling at the crows and throwing rocks. When he got closer I asked him to stop that. He told me they had just shit on him. I couldn’t help but laugh. They knew he lived up on the street above the trail and must have thrown things and tried to scare them off many times. He was one of their known foes.

I told him that they knew he didn’t like them and that is why they pooped on him. He looked at me in wonderment and said… “Really??”. I gave him some bread and said to feed them. He might win them over. Maybe not though. They have long memories and the flock know he is crow mean.

So, how smart are your Crows? Do they consider you friend or foe?


  1. Ha! I knew that crows had the ability to recognize people, but didn’t realize that they can treat them so differently. When I go for walks, I sometimes see the neighborhood crows and I’ll how cute they are. I’m starting to think they recognize me as that weird, bothersome girl who won’t leave them alone!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.