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Tool use to Crow about

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posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 06:16 PM
Crows have an unspoken motto: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but they sure can come in handy. Two new studies unveil the ability of at least some crows to use tools in sophisticated ways, without training, to obtain food.

Crows’ problem-solving feats in these studies underscore a substantial intelligence that has attracted relatively little scientific attention, according to both research teams.

Scientists have previously noted tool use among members of the crow family, or corvids, including dropping stones on intruders or prey and using paper as a rake and sponge. But few birds display comparable behavior, and researchers have largely concentrated on the extensive, flexible tool practices of chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates. Evidence from apes and monkeys, as well as other large-brained, social animals such as dolphins, has debunked the traditional view that tool use is a defining human characteristic.

Continued here:

More news here:

This is all new to me so I thought I would share it all with you. Yes! Smart crows…very smart crows. I for one never knew that birds; especially crows, could be this intuitive.

Do you all remember the movie "The Birds"? I loved that movie, but I really never thought for a second birds could ever acquire the intelligence to do as they did in the movie. After reading the stories above, I'm not so sure anymore.

Maybe Alfred Hitchcock knew something we didn't.


posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 06:30 PM
Crows are amazing creatures. They are scavengers that have learned to co-exist in close proximity to humans. Just like rats and dogs, wherever there are humans, you will find crows.

However, unlike the other scavengers they are pretty witty. Just find your nearest shopping mall and spend an hour observing the crows. I've seen them pick up lit cigarette butts and smoke them. I've seen them pick up unlit cigarette butts to use as nesting material. I've seen them sit and observe traffic waiting for the safe and opportune time to get something they want from the middle of the road. I've seen them use a murder of crows to distract other birds while one of their number swoops in for what they are fighting over. I've even seen a crow suck soda out of a straw!

It is said that since the feral nature has been bred out of dogs thousands of years ago, that they would go extinct without humankind. It is believed by scientists that rats too might follow humanity into extinction if we were to go that route. Crows, I am convinced, would find ways to adapt without humans. Their scavenger-based relationship with humans is not, co-dependent as much as it is symbiotic.

However, Crows aren't the only birds that are tool-users (although they are the only birds other than Budgies that have a rudimentary grasp of mathematics, being able to count to 3, although Budgies can be taught the use an Abacus to count to higher numbers). Vultures, Parrots, Passerines, Woodpecker Finches, and some varieties of Ibis/Herons have been known to fashion and use rudimentary tools.

Crows may not have the intelligence of a Budgie, but I have no doubts they (along with other Corvidae) are the second most intelligent Avians. They certainly are the most adaptable.

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 06:39 PM
That is interesting. I vaguely recall seeing something like this on a documentary once. It showed crows using sticks and twigs as tools. It seems like there was one using a twig to push a piece of food that was out of his reach, to a place he could get to it.

It has been years though.

Anyway, I am not surprised. I have always felt animals are much smarter than we give them credit for.

On a side note, another new study was released very recently that showed the average dog has an intelligence level of a human two year old. It was on It showed that Border Collies were at the top of the list and Afghan hounds were the least smart.

I can't find the cnn article but here is another one about the same thing.

Thanks for sharing

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 07:16 PM

Originally posted by fraterormus
However, unlike the other scavengers they are pretty witty. Just find your nearest shopping mall and spend an hour observing the crows. I've seen them pick up lit cigarette butts and smoke them.

I'd love to see a picture or video of that!

Thanks for your insightful post, I will be looking at them crows a lot more in the future.

posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 07:20 PM
reply to post by gimme_some_truth

Thanks! I saw that story about the dogs on Yahoo this morning. I have two dogs here at home. My dogs seem to be smarter than 2 year old's though. Well, at times anyways.


posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 05:21 PM
I once watched a crow drop a walnut several times in a parking lot trying to break it open. After several un successful tries the crow picked up the walnut and dropped it in the drive thru driveway of the fast food joint i was at and patiently waited on an overlooking light pole till a car ran over the walnut and crushed, whereby the crow returned to claim his tasty morsel.

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 09:56 PM
Them crows are smarter than my dogs. They are amazing creatures. The cockroach of the air? Maybe? They are indeed very adaptable.

posted on Nov, 30 2009 @ 12:07 PM
I just got the scare of my life from a crow and thought I had to share this.

For weeks now our Butt Can at work keeps going missing. Sometimes we find it down the street, and sometimes it is just up and gone and we just replace it. Sometimes we find some of the cigarette butts that were in it scattered about the ground, sometimes not.

All this time, we've thought it was some poor bum carting it off. Turns out it wasn't.

I went outside in the cold on my break to have a quick smoke and opened the door to find a crow the size of a Boston Terrier (with a 3 1/2' wingspan) with the Butt Can in it's beak! It dropped it to caw at me and flapped it's wings at me (I assume to make itself look big and scare me off...which it did). When it was certain I wasn't going to rush it, it picked the Butt Can back up in it's beak and flew off to the rooftop of the Office Complex across the street!

Now this isn't a small Butt Can, but a 33.9oz Coffee Tin. It must have quite the collection up there by now.

I just stood there in disbelief...

When I recovered from the shock of being confronted by a grumpy Crow the size of a child that was needing it's morning nicotine fix, I put out another Butt Can and lit up a smoke. While I was smoking the Crow flew over to the tree nearest me waiting for me to finish so it could no doubt cart off another prize. It kept cawing in disapproval at me as I picked up the Can and took it inside with me when I was done.

I know this is heading for a confrontation. Once it works up the nerve I have no doubt that it will swoop down while my co-workers and I are out there having a smoke to cart off the can right in front of us.

Although it makes me wonder what it is doing with all of those large Coffee Cans. If he's using the cigarette butts for something other than nesting material then he specifically has a Kretek/Clove fetish by now as that is the only thing that I and my co-workers smoke.

I thought about feeding him my lunch leftovers in an attempt to befriend him, but considering his unusually large size I figure he's getting plenty to eat already and the only thing I can offer him as a sign of friendship would be the Butt Cans filled with Kretek/Clove butts that he apparently so much enjoys for whatever purpose he has for them.

I might just toy with him to see how good of a problem-solver this particular crow is. Putting a lid on the Butt Can might not prevent him from carrying it off long, but it would be fun to watch him try to figure out how to open it.

posted on Nov, 30 2009 @ 03:08 PM
reply to post by fraterormus

Just throwing this out here. When you talked about the size, it occurred to me that it probably wasn't a crow at all. It was probably a Raven.

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