When you’re thinking about making fun of crows, here’s a friendly reminder: don’t. No matter what thoughts are running through your head, don’t antagonize a crow. Why? American crows remember the faces of the people who had wronged them and grow a grudge on them, enlisting the help of their fellow crows for vengeance. This is according to a 2011 study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Birds don’t always get credit as far as intelligence goes. It has been a common misconception that birds are rather stupid since their brains have significant differences than ours. For a long time, even scientists believed that. However, recent research studies on the behavior of these animals as well as their brains and their abilities could prove those fallacies wrong. There have been sophisticated actions recounted on various birds. Researchers have found these actions from pigeons, finches and even Antarctic gulls. But out of all these winged creatures, crows and ravens consistently astound researchers.
We have learned a lot about these birds in the last 10 years. We’ve learned that they can create, keep and care for tools. They can even count and practice self-restraint. They even use bait to catch a fish and they can even play around. However, the the most interesting part about them is their ability to harbor serious grudges on people who have done them wrong.
Source: Mental Floss
University of Washington’s School of Forest Resources had researchers buy two masks with human faces on them. The first mask was a caveman-looking one and it signified a “dangerous” mask while the other, a Dick Cheney mask, was the “neutral” one. After buying and determining the roles of the mask, they visited five sites in Seattle. In each of these sites, someone would wear the caveman mask and trap the crows, band their legs and then set them free, an experience that the birds did not at all enjoy. As soon as they were let go, the crows began yelling at their captor – a harsh, aggressive cry called “scolding.”
The “scolding” had attracted other birds, those who were never captured by the researcher, and began crying at the researcher even though they haven’t met before. “The mob of two to 15 birds hounds us, sometimes diving from the sky to within a few meters or less. This pursuit lasts about 100 meters (328 feet) as we walk away,” John Marzluff said, a crow expert.
The Dick Cheney mask, who did not participate in any of the events, did not get the same reaction.
Marzluff and his colleagues then transferred to other sites. There, the caveman mask solicited immediate ruckus among the crows – the interesting fact is, none of them have even met the mask or were captured or banded. Even though miles away, these crows have already heard about the caveman-mask and they knew right away that he is up to no good.
Marzluff continued the experiment and apparently, the grudge did not wear off. He returned to the site five years after but the response with the mask remained the same. “Individual crows that are adults can live 15-40 years in the wild (most die when young, but those that make it to adulthood can live a long time) and they probably remember important associations they have formed for much of their lives,” Marzluff said.
However, these kinds of associations are not all negative. There was actually this little girl who made the news when her family revealed that the crows around her area actually adores her and offer her little trinkets as a gift.
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