Crows Recognize Their Friends

American crow at Laval University, Quebec City (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

28 November 2021

Smart crows are naturally wary around humans. Though most people don’t even notice birds, crows know that some humans are malicious.

Crows notice us noticing them. They watch us back while they assess whether we’re dangerous or beneficial. They learn the faces of enemies so they can recognize them later. They also remember their friends.

A friendship with crows can run both ways when the crows bring gifts.

An “enemy” can become a friend if he’s consistently kind and trustworthy, as was this mailman in Vancouver, BC.

Peanuts were the treat that turned an “enemy” into a friend.

Crow with peanuts in Newfoundland (photo by Felip1 via Flickr Creative Commons license)

(photos from Wikimedia Commons and Felip1 via Flickr Creative commons license. Embedded videos from YouTube. Click on the captions to see the originals)

6 thoughts on “Crows Recognize Their Friends

  1. Kate, I have a lot of crows around my area, but there is one, when I am in the pool will land on the roof of the cabana and “squawk” to me. I have answered him/her back for some time now. I swear he recognizes me by my big brim straw hat and likes the attention I give him.

  2. Kate, I’m curious, do you know if other cities get the huge crow flocks in the winter like Pittsburgh does? Is this a common occurrence? And I assume not all crows in the area join them, since I see small groups (3 to 5) down here in Washington County. Does anyone know why the mega-flocks form?

    1. Mary Ann, yes many other cities get big flocks of crows in winter including Auburn,NY, Wheeling,WV, Harrisburg, Lancaster,PA, Ithaca,NY, Seattle, etc. Pittsburgh is in good company.
      They gather in cities in winter for heat 9warmer in towns), safety (in numbers and they are not hunted in cities), and better access to food sources during the winter months (lots of human refuse).

  3. From what I’ve read on FB (you know how that goes) Canuck hasn’t been seen for a couple of years. Nobody knows what happened to him. I think fall 2019 was the last sighting.

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