I forgot to check when I reached the five hundred-post milestone. That was actually several weeks ago. Whoops.
Recently, one of my grad school classmates reposted a comment on Facebook about some crows at a wildlife facility that said, “Caw,” to imitate the humans who said that to them. Someone who worked at the facility explained that the crows mocked the humans who assumed that crows only said, “Caawwww.” I was so fascinated by that remark, that I decided to search out videos about crows, especially after hearing a crow calling out as it flew by my home.
I wound up watching a twenty-two-minute TED Talk on crows and ravens by John Marzluff, a professor at the University of Washington.
I totally get that you don’t have twenty minutes to watch a video. But the first few minutes at least are worth watching, because the way a crow problem solves in a clip Marzluff shows is fascinating.
Around the fourteen-minute mark, Marzluff plays an audio clip of a raven saying his name—Edgar (ha, how fitting). But here’s a different video of a raven saying hello.
With all of this talk of corvids, of course I think of City Jackdaw, Andy’s blog, since jackdaws are in the crow family.
It’s interesting that crows and ravens are usually portrayed as sinister in literature. Think of “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe and the many, many fantasy novels that mention them or feature them on their covers. This post lists several. Like this novel.
Even Raven, a member of the Teen Titans superhero group, is the one with dark powers. And there’s the Crow, a dude brought back to life by an unusual crow to seek revenge.
The fact that crows eat carrion probably edged them toward the dark side in the minds of many authors. But I think they get a bad rap. I watched a video of a crow saying hello to a squirrel, which seemed kinda sweet. You can watch it here.
Maybe it’s time for crows to get a break in literature. I’d love to hear of some stories where crows or ravens did something cool. Oh wait. I know one. It’s this one.
What do you think of crows? Please comment below, especially if you know a good story about crows or ravens.
Another place for cool facts about corvids: https://www.sciencealert.com/crows-ravens-corvids-best-birds-animal-intelligence
Crow photo from pubicdomainpictures.net. Raven from Teen Titans image from wallpapercave.com. Six of Crows book cover from Goodreads.
I always thought crows and ravens were dubbed sinister is because they were black. They also have a habit of perching nearby and staring at people, so it’s almost like they’re hunting. Don’t some cultures use them as harbingers of death too? Last fall we had an enormous flock of crows that spread out over the town. They were everywhere and it was crazy when they would take flight at the same time. One day, many of them were in a clump of trees near my block and a passing firetruck startled them. It was like a horror movie when they came out of the branches.
Yes they have been seen as harbingers of death in other cultures. I haven’t seen a flock of crows. I keep hearing individual ones. So a flock would be startling.
Actually, I think it’s called a murder of crows. My bad.
It is indeed a murder of crows. Such a vivid name.
I’ve always been a little scared by crows. I think it has a lot to do with having one dive bomb me as a child.
Really? Oh my goodness, Jill! That is scary and scarring! 😯 They’re rather large. 😦
They’re very smart, but I’m still afraid of them. 😦
I’m sorry, Jill! 😦
CONGRATULATIONS on your 510th post. That is something to crow about. And thank you for posting a quick video of the TED talk.I like to listen to TED talks when I’m fixing dinner ~ no time now.
I made a big to-do about my 5th year blogging with the motif of 500 hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. I won’t provide a link because I learned recently that that’s spamming, not good manners. You have me beat by almost 100 posts; I’ve reached 416 as of last week, not too shabby.
I admire you for persevering. Even though it’s obvious you enjoy blogging, I know it’s hard work even on days when the words flow, like today. Again, kudos!
Thanks, Marian. I think I remember your post about that, especially since I had to write an essay on that book once. Congrats again to you on five years of posting. That’s something to crow about!
You’re so right. Blogging is hard work. I often feel like quitting. But I know that quitting wouldn’t solve anything!
We even name wrinkles after them! Crow’s feet. 😁
Ha! Good one, Carrie! I hadn’t thought of that, but so true. 😀 😀
Even a collective group of crows sounds sinister ~> a murder of crows. 😀
Congrats on 500+ posts. Glad you’re still enjoying the blog pool. Write on!
Thank you! Yes, I love that phrase. It’s interesting that researchers discovered some crows investigating the death of one of their own. Gives a whole new meaning to “murder of crows.”
Congratulations on that milestone! You deserve to crow!!!!
Thanks, Louise! 😀 It’s an odd one, but we gotta celebrate even those. 😀
Congratulations on your 510th post for an amazing blog! As far as corvid-themed literature, I will never forget a short story by Edwidge Danticat in which a murder of crows in a family’s backyard portends their death when they attempt to escape Haiti in a rickety boat.
Wow! Sounds very spooky, Lyn! It would be a good story to read near Halloween.
How’s about ‘The Birds’ movie by Hitchcock? Wowzer!
Really love all the info woven into your post…and the vid – the Natural World never ceases to amaze me.
Congrats on 510 – a new landmark number!
Ah, good one, Laura! I remember being terrified to go outside after I saw that movie when I was a kid.
The natural world amazes me too! I’ll never look at a crow the same way again.
Congrats on 510 posts. That’s great!
I have to admit, crows are not my favorite birds. We have quite a few around here. They’re okay except after their baby birds have hatched. Just walking down a street near their nests (and their nests are high in our very tall Douglas fir trees) they make a racket and sometimes dive toward your head. It can be scary.
When we lived in Vanuatu, there were lots of Indian mynah birds. I didn’t hear them mimicking human speech, but they were very good at mimicking the other birds.
Jill said the same thing about crows diving at people. So scary.
I saw a video of a mynah bird talking. It was amazing! It’s this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpfF1xUqbOE
I have no story about a crow. I met some ravens at the Tower of London when we visited there years ago. They weren’t sinister at all, more like pet ducks who followed us around, hoping for a snack. So there’s that.
Ah. That’s refreshing, Ally. It’s nice to know that the ravens aren’t considered sinister. Interesting place to hang around!
510 posts is certainly something to crow about! Congratulations! 🙂
I actually find crows fascinating and not at all sinister. I have a metal/yard art one, scaled to correct size. It sits in a flower box on the rail of the deck. When the light is just right a few visitors have been caught unawares, making me giggle and giving me something to caw about.
Fun post. Thank you and happy belated 4th.
Thanks, Penny! Hope you had a wonderful fourth, though I’m sure you had preparations still to make for the weekend!