July 28, 2009:
You bet crows are smart! Here are two stories about how very smart they are.
There was a radio article on NPR yesterday morning in which two eminent crow specialists described how crows recognize humans by their faces.
Kevin McGowan (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) and John Marzluff (University of Washington) wrote the book on crows – literally, books – and they know what they’re talking about. They’ve banded and studied more crows than most of us will see in our lifetimes and they soon realized the crows knew exactly who they were no matter what they were wearing. Marzluff conducted a study to prove it.
I am so impressed! I was even more impressed when I visited the Morning Edition website, watched the video and took this test: “Can you recognize a crow by its face?” (I can’t.) Try your own skill here.
And… on the way to finding that article, I found another one about a crow-sized camera that was fitted to New Caledonian crows to record them making and using tools. My favorite part was, “They caught 18 wild crows and attached the cameras, which weigh less than half an ounce. A timer kept the cameras from filming for a couple days, otherwise they would just record crows trying to tear them off.”
Of course! It made me laugh out loud.
(photo from Shutterstock by Alexander Chelmodeev)