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Local Crows

Crows are one of the most common birds we see here in Surrey, British Columbia. Unfortunately, they are so common that many people consider the corvids to be a nuisance, scavenging for scraps and jumping around cars. This assumption has been further pushed by scientists naming a group of crows a murder. However, this is not necessarily the case.

Photo of a Northwestern Crow, with fossil of a crow's foot

Try to look at the bird in the picture above through an unbiased lens. Perhaps you see a sleek jet-black bird that could be modelling, or you look into its eye and find a sign of curiosity. This curiosity is present because corvids are considered to be the most intelligent bird species on the planet, often being quoted to have the same intelligence levels as a young child. They recognize human faces, can identify themselves in the mirror, and can solve multiple-step puzzles to get to food. Many books have been written on this subject, and some scientists also believe the evidence given that crows hold funerals when they find a dead body of their own species, and give gifts to humans who regularly feed them. Our local crows are no exception to this corvid intelligence.


There used to be two species of crow in Surrey: the Northwestern Crow shown in the picture above, as well as a practically identical American Crow. However, in 2018 scientists discovered that the two species had been found to breed together often enough that the two species were merged. This resulted in the American Crow being the only crow species left in the area, which does make identifying crows about a million times easier! Next time you see a crow, try and think back to that unbiased opinion if you do not already have one. Let us know in the comments the signs of crow intelligence that you have noticed locally.


This article was written by Sasha Fairbairn, author of https://bcbackyardbirds.wordpress.com/.

Thank you for reading.



On the other hand, you may feel more inclined to agree with this poem "The Crow", said to be written around 900 A.D. by blind poet of Qabr:



How odd among mankind are those

Who feel a fondness for the crows!


When light into the sky is creeping

Dawn spurs birds to noisy peeping

Knifing into fitful sleeping

Worst of which to spoil one's doze

Are cheeky caws from winged black foes;

How odd among mankind are those

Who feel a fondness for the crows!


In birdlike fashion understood -

Is there some sort of brotherhood

So swarms of crows meet in the wood

In loud debate of highs and lows

In undistinguished crowlike prose?

How odd among mankind are those

Who feel a fondness for the crows!


Around the town in trees each day

As if to tease in every way

At all around they have their say -

And no one has the grit, this shows

Of such a nuisance to dispose!

How odd among mankind are those

Who feel a fondness for the crows!


Can loud rude spiteful birds like this

Know well when something is amiss

And caw as if to boo and hiss

When that which brought them soon bestows

An overflowing pot of woes?

Most odd among mankind are those

Who feel a fondness for the crows!


Those marked by fate might well suspect

They can in crows nearby detect

The signs of fortune to be wrecked

So crows thus mockingly expose

A doom that morbid folk suppose!

Most odd among mankind are those

Who feel a fondness for the crows!


To bribe these crows a witch supplied

Spare food that they had slyly eyed

Pretending in her glib aside

"I know not how that tale arose:

I fed them all because I chose!"

Most odd among mankind are those

Who feel a fondness for the crows!

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