When thinking about intelligent animals, what animal first comes to mind? Dolphins and primates might be the animals that come to mind. What about crows? Apparently, crows are one of the world’s most intelligent animals. They are the smartest birds on the planet. Studies show that their intelligence lets them act in a certain way that is very similar to human beings,
We mostly find crows in stories as a representation of bad luck. The crows play the symbolism and foreshadowing of bad things that are about to happen. Well, we will get to the reason why it is so in a minute. Crows are fascinating creatures and here are 15 fun facts about crows you need to know that will show you how smart they are.
1. Incredibly Intelligent
If you wonder how smart crows are, you should know their brain-to-body ratio. The brain-to-body ratio is what we usually call EQ or “encephalization quotient” is 4.1 which is close to chimpanzee at 4.2. Intelligence is also measured from the neuronal density which is the number of neurons per gram of the brain. Without a surprise, crows also have high scores for this.
It shows how responsive their brains are which allows them to act and respond to their surroundings in a certain way. The fascinating part of their brain is the absence of the frontal cortex which is the part of the brain that is associated with problem solving ability, mental health, and the ability to know themselves.
With the behavioral intelligence that they show, it is rather unbelievable that they do all that without having the frontal cortex. Thus, scientists believe that the crows’ brain evolved different brain structures to be able to do what they can do. Imagine what kind of creatures they will be if they keep on evolving over the course of another million years.
2. Playing Puzzle
One of the things that the crows’ intelligence enables them to do is the ability to solve puzzles. Their ability to solve puzzles is comparable to the ability of a seven year old kid. The most famous puzzle that they could solve is the Aesop’s Fable. Scientists have made studies on how crows will solve puzzle problems.
From the observation, it is shown that crows have the ability to learn and memorize patterns which enables them to solve this puzzle. It also shows the problem solving ability that crows have. Problem solving ability determines how long they could survive and thrive in this world. Does it feel similar to what human beings need to do in order to thrive and survive?
3. Paying Respect To The Dead
What is fascinating about these crows is that they hold funerals for their dead fellows. Farmers often observe an individual or group of crows gather around a dead crow’s body silently as if they are paying respect to the dead crows. This behavior is also visible with highly intelligent animals such as the African elephants, chimpanzees, and bottlenose dolphins.
On top of that, crows will associate the place and also the surrounding of the dead body as danger or threat which they will eventually avoid as best as they could. Even if that place has plenty of food, they will never go there. Also, if they see a human being that carries the dead body, they will continually scold them for up to four to six weeks. Even if you are wearing a mask when you are taking the dead body, they would still recognize you from your masks.
4. Crows Are Basically Your Neighborhood Nosy Aunties
Just like a typical neighborhood nosy auntie, crows will gossip about you to their friends. Have you ever heard about having a crow enemy? Crows can memorize faces. If you ever capture them or treat them unfairly, be ready to get famous among the crows.
When treated unfairly, crows hold grudges and they will share about it to basically every crow and now all the crows hold the same grudges to you. Such an interesting behavior that human beings could pretty much relate to.
5. Crows Stay Devoted to Their Partner For Life
Despite its cunning and scary behaviors, crows are surprisingly a very faithful creature. Apparently, they are known to be socially monogamous where they stay with one partner for life. However, there are some exceptions to this. If their partner dies or is seriously injured, crows will find a new partner. Also, if their breeding is unsuccessful, they will break the bond and try it with another partner.
6. Crows are Family Oriented
Not only faithful to their mates, crows are also a social creature that are family oriented. The younger crows will live with their parents up to five years and usually one group of crows consists of 15 birds which may consist of birds that are not even related to one another. Also, the crows will help feed and tend to their younger siblings.
7. Japan’s Number One Enemy
Crows are the number one enemy of the Japanese people. Lately,crows in Japan have grown to such a big size and also a big number. Due to it these crows would build their nests on electricity poles. This causes a short circuit that leads to a blackout. In the year 2007, in the island of Kyushu, there had been three major outages caused by crows. There was a time when it even caused a brief blackout in Kagoshima’s central port district. Kyushu Electric has made crow patrol teams where they will be removing crows’ nests from electric poles to prevent the blackout.
8. They are Skillful Like Humans
Another proof of how smart crows are is their ability to make and utilize tools. Studies on particularly the New Caledonian crows show how skillful they are with tools. They will turn twigs into spears and hooks to get them some food. They also know how to combine different materials to make tools.
Scientists have tried to test them on this by giving them a box which consists of material to make a tool. The scientists were surprised to find that without any assistance, these crows have the idea what these tools are for and how to make them. It shows how flexible they are in dealing with situations they have never been in before.
9. Crows are Stronger Together
Crows truly understand that there is power in number. Thus, they are able to tackle down predators that are bigger than them by teaming up with other crows. In times where they need to attack, they will first gather up and create an army of crows to attack. This behavior is very relatable to us human beings especially when you remember the days in school where some of your friends might team up to bully the weak or they will team up to bring down the bully.
10. The Crow Dialect
Crows, like parrots, know how to talk. They are included into the songbirds group where these birds communicate mostly through complex vocalization. Crows from different regions have their own tones. If the crows moved to a new place, they would slowly learn how to mimic the tone of the dominant crows in the region. Pretty much like human beings where each place has their own dialects and you could determine where they are from only by hearing their dialect.
11. The Girl Who Gets Gifts From Crow
The story comes from an eight year old girl, Gabi Mann, whose affection is reciprocated by a crow. She has consistently shown care to the crows by leaving them some food for the crows in her garden in Seattle. Surprisingly, the crows return her kindness by leaving her little gifts like screws, buttons, etc. This behavior shows how intelligent crows are. It is rather fascinating that they are even more similar to human beings rather than animals.
12. Preparing For The Future
Have you ever heard the myth of crows stealing and storing shiny things? Well, it is not completely true, but this myth came from their habit of storing excess food. They will hide food under the grass or in the tree and they will retrieve them back when they need it. Excess food is the only thing that crows store, so they won’t take away your gold or diamond with them.
13. Turning Poison to Honey
The crows in Queenstown, Australia have figured out a way to eat the poisonous cane toads without getting affected by its poison. While the cane toads have been the cause of many animal’s deaths in Queenstown, the crows are smart enough to overcome it. When they are trying to hunt them down, they will flip them over in their back, stab their neck, and eat only the imards that do not contain poison. These crows know that the toxin is located in the toads’ wart skin and the two large parotid glands behind their ears. The crows really know their way to food,
14. Crows’ Skincare Routine
Another interesting behavior that the crows have is called anting, Anting is when birds rub insects, which are usually ants, on their feathers or skin. It is a common behavior among birds where they do this for several reasons. One of them is for feather grooming or they could do it to remove pungent parts of the ants before they eat it. It is a similar behavior to how cats would lick themselves to maintain their coat.
15. The White Crows Exist
Crows are very iconic as being that black scary bird, but do you know that there are white crows as well? The white crows are crows that have albinism which is a genetic mutation that causes melanin to not be produced, leading to the lack of colors. White crows have an occurrence of 1 in 10,000 which is quite rare. This is why the Russian slang uses the term “The White Crow” which means unusual or unlike others.
After reading all the 15 fun facts about crows, can you see how smart they are? Other than the fact that they are smart creatures, we can also see and reflect on how similar the crows behave to human beings just like you and me. Crows are definitely one fascinating creature.