Crows hold "funerals" for their dead and this very weird experiment revealed why


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/16/crows-hold-funerals-for-th.html


#2

So… Maybe less funeral and more Coroner’s Inquest?


#3

Yeah. that’s not creepy at all…


#4

I can’t say I blame them. I’d flee from that mask, too.


#5

Crows hold funerals for their dead and this very weird experiment revealed why

From the title, I think I can be forgiven for instinctively assuming the thread was regarding The Night’s Watch:


#6

Crows and corvids in general are awesome creatures. When I noticed they were taking leftover the kitty kibbles from the times I fed a local stray (I eventually was able to get him to a shelter) I started letting them see me put some out for them. I now have three that pay attention when I walk out of the house in the mornings and know our car well enough they appear when we come back from whatever for the day.


#7

Also, obligs:


#8

The crows are right to be freaked out by her mask… very Texas Chainsaw Massacre!


#9

Learning directly from each other, rather than through individual experience, is called social learning.

Now if crows can do it, maybe humans are next.


#10

Every day, a large flock of sparrows used to gather along (and within!) a chain link fence that ran along one side of my grandmother’s backyard, and always just a few minutes before 2PM when she’d throw seed out. Tons of fun to watch as things progressed!


#11

What happened at the Daylight Savings Time change, or did granny not abide such newfangled things?


#12

Not sure if this means anything or not but, there was a farmer near me that would pierce a crow to the side of his barn with an arrow. After seeing this experiment I wonder if the phenomenon is in some folklore already.


#13

Maybe she was hoping they’re movie buffs?

3


#14

This video really makes it sound like this grad student discovered and named this behavior, and discovered that it’s used for information on predators. That was actually done by another grad student several years ago, who is given no credit here. I’m sure that’s the fault of the filmmakers rather than the grad student, but it’s still not particularly cool.

http://methowconservancy.org/scrub_jay_funerals.pdf


#15

Here we go again with the Denver stories:

In 2006-2007 we had one of our cyclical winters. It started snowing picturesque powdery snow right after Christmas…and didn’t stop until, like, Cinco de Mayo. Colorado Holiday Blizzards wiki

I was trying to shovel waist-deep snow that felt like powdered sugar (Champagne Powder to skiers), and a crow came and perched in the top of my big Elm. He or she had found a discarded turkey leg and was bragging to the whole world. He kept it up for at least 20 minutes: “ACKKK! ACKKK! ACKKKK!”…and then he fumbled it into the bottomless snow. Silence.

…and then I swear I heard that crow say, “SHIT!


#16

I don’t know for sure (since my own personal experience covered just one span of time change, and my MOM would occasionally report on the rest). I’d assume she just adjusted her feedings as needed.


#17

Yes, if I saw her I’d lose it too and start cawing at the top of my lungs.


#18

Crows and ravens are funny creatures since I heard they also love to roll around in snow as if they’re playing. Birds are just a short hop from taking over the world, I swear.


#19

As a side note, Corvus the ‘Crow’, the constellation is now appearing in early evening in the south - southeast. It’s one of my favorite and fun constellations.


#20

Crows are incredibly interesting to watch. There’s this water fountain at one Starbuck’s we frequent. One day we observed a crow carrying a twisted bundle of something (??) land on the fountain edge and drop the bundle into the water. It stared at it for a while. Some of it sank, then the crow proceeded to pick out and swallow the floaters. Then it washed the stuff down with the fountain water. These highly evolved dinosaurs are smart!