Written By: Sarah Girton
Crows are one of the most commonly encountered birds in towns, countrysides, and suburbs. They are considered a nuisance to a lot of people, but those who’ve studied them know that there is actually a lot to love about them! Have you ever wondered what goes on behind these deep black eyes? Read on to discover why these birds have intrigued humanity for thousands of years.
- Strong Family Ties
It’s easy to see a group of crows and assume it’s just a chaotic group of troublemakers, but crows are complex, social beings. More than likely, they are parents, brothers, and sisters. Young from previous years will help their parents raise new siblings. They pass on knowledge (which is actually a form of culture).
- They Mate for Life
The basis for a strong family group is a mated pair. Like many birds, crows will usually mate for life. There are many benefits in nature to keeping a mate year-round, including splitting the responsibilities of parenthood, better vigilance against predators, plus you’ve got double the eyes searching for food!
- Bird Brains
Crows are not only one of the smartest birds, but also one of the smartest animals on the planet. They make and use tools, they have excellent memories, and studies suggest that they may be self-aware. Scientists agree that the average crow possesses the same intelligence as a 7 year old child.
- Clean Up Crews
Many bird species, including vultures, condors, and crows, are frequent eaters of carrion. Without these macabre diners, the carcasses would be left to rot, potentially spreading disease to not only other animals, but into human populations.
Crows have symbolic meaning in hundreds of cultures around the world. Here in the West, crows symbolize everything from death to intelligence to destiny. In Celtic mythology, there is a goddess known as the Morrígan, who is associated with war. In artwork she is often depicted as a crow, flying alongside warriors as they charge into battle. There are several Native American cultures that revere crows as messengers, tricksters, or divine deliverers of spirits to heaven. One Aboriginal myth tells how crows were responsible for bringing fire to mankind.
- I Know You
Crows are smart enough to remember who has wronged them, and who has been kind to them. And they will pass along this knowledge to other members of their flock. Studies have shown that when a crow sees a human who has been mean to them, they will incite their flock members to mob and bully and sometimes even dive bomb the perpetrator.
- Rest in Peace
Crow funerals have long fascinated us, especially because we still don’t fully understand them. If you are not familiar with this ritual, here is what happens: When crows spot a dead crow, they come together to caw and surround the dead bird. What is the meaning behind this? Scientists are fairly certain that the birds are trying to learn what happened so that they can avoid the same fate. No doubt that it’s also terrifying for them to see a dead peer.
Crows do not put up with threats to their safety, especially when it comes to birds of prey. They have the numbers to successfully drive off any hawk or eagle that gets too close for comfort. This kind of teamwork is vital to their survival, and it is also rather inspiring that they can all work together to protect their family.
Even if you aren’t a fan of crows, hopefully you have gained some appreciation for how interesting these birds really are! Do you have any fun facts about crows that weren’t shared in this post? Comment below!