The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Rick Brockway

September 14, 2012

Crows aresmarter thanyou think

As I drive down Interstate-88 at 70-plus miles an hour, I’m amazed at the timing of the crows that feed on those delicious splatters of road kill.

My truck gets closer and closer and they just stand there, picking at the mangled flesh. Then at the very last moment, they walk across the white line out of harm’s way and I race by.

I even test them every once in a while. If there are no other cars close by, I’ll slow down to 50 until I get really close and then stomp the pedal to the floor. They’ve probably seen that trick before because they just casually walk to the side of the highway – again at the last possible moment – and give me the feather.

My dad used to say that crows would just sit in the hedgerows of the meadow and let him walk by, as long as he had nothing in his hands. If he had a gun, though, he’d never be in shooting range because they’d be long gone.

Crows are smarter than we give them credit.

At a university in Seattle, seven crows were captured and tagged by scientists wearing masks. After they were released, the crows would swoop down and try to attack the men wearing the masks. If those same researchers were on campus without the masks, though, they were not harassed by the birds. The researchers concluded that crows could actually remember faces.

If you have crows bothering your garden and you shoot one, the rest will disappear and never come back. In the town of Chatham, Ontario, Canada, thousands of crows congregated each year while migrating south for the winter. The farmers’ crops were being destroyed, affecting their livelihoods. One year, some hunters shot several of the crows. The migrating crows have avoided that town ever since.

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Rick Brockway

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