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Crows Remember Human Faces

9/5/2008 10:42:37 AM

Tags: crows, ravens, Univ. of Wash.

It is easy to assign human traits to monkeys and apes, after all they look a lot like long-armed, hairy people. But who would think that crows and their blackbird relatives would harbor resentments and remember kindnesses?

A recent University of Washington study, reported on in the New York Times, proves that crows have long memories and communicate their feelings with their flock. In the study, crows avoided researchers who had previously trapped them, even when their faces were partially disguised. And a Vermont ornithologist reports that the crows he had fed treats to over the years followed him, while the ones he had trapped and banded harassed him.

Crows and ravens have gotten a bad rap over the years for their somewhat aggressive behavior towards smaller birds and their propensity to steal treats from picnickers. But the truth is that crows are smart, quick learners with strong family values that they pass on to their offspring.

Next time you spot a “mob” of crows, sit awhile and enjoy their antics. You might learn a bit more about these avian friends.



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