Crows are mischievous, playful, social, and passionate. They have brains that are huge for their body size and exhibit an avian kind of eloquence. They mate for life and associate with relatives and neighbors for years. And because they often live near people, they are also keenly aware of our peculiarities, quickly learning to recognize and approach those who care for them, even giving numerous, oddly touching gifts in return. The characteristics of crows that allow this symbiotic relationship are language, delinquency, frolic, passion, wrath, risk-taking, and awareness—seven traits that humans find strangely familiar.
With his extraordinary research on the intelligence and startling abilities of corvids—crows, ravens, and jays—scientist John Marzluff told amazing stories of these brilliant birds in Gifts of the Crow, shining a light on their fascinating characteristics and behaviors.
Watch video segments from the presentation:
Part I: Intro; Brain Power, Sociality, Longevity
Part 2: Learning, Fun, and Insight
Part 3: Risks, Calls, and Language
Part 4: Culture, ID, Crows and People
Part 5: Closing
John Marzluff, Ph.D., is Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington. His research has been the focus of articles in the New York Times, National Geographic, Audubon, Boys Life, The Seattle Times, and National Wildlife. PBS’s NATURE featured his raven research in its production, “Ravens,” and his crow research in the film documentary, “A Murder of Crows.”