Snowboarding crow



Everyone’s scrambling to be the first with a Peter Griffin meme.

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I’m trying to figure out what the bird’s motivations are.

It doesn’t seem to be intending to slide, but it keeps returning to the peak of the roof for some reason. I notice late in the video it seems to put it down on a patch without snow, then step on it seemingly to gain leverage as it pecks at it, as if trying to break it open to get at something inside it. Is the bird just not comprehending what the object is, and is this merely its way of experimenting to figure out its physical qualities?

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Crows are pretty smart, and smart beings like to have fun.


That’s neither here nor there. The entire reason I’m puzzled is that it doesn’t seem to be sliding intentionally. It does not appear to be genuinely playing, and I’m hesitant to just automatically anthropomorphize its behaviors without trying to analyze them first.

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Easy… FUN! Crows have been shown to play.


Oh do shut up.


And a Russian crow to boot! Go Russia!


Okay, explaining once again, and this time in simple, direct terms.

I am not contesting that crows engage in play. I am simply not convinced that the original video demonstrates play, and not a different behavior, purely on the basis that the sliding does not appear (to my admitted untrained eye) to be intentional.

Your provided video demonstrates clear, intentional play, and consequently is apropos of nothing. It fails to address my actual argumentation, instead addressing the unrelated argument you have invented of your own accord and which you have convinced yourself is mine. I must state once more, I do not contest that crows play. I am simply not convinced that the original video demonstrates play, and not a different behavior.

Did we both watch the same video?

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It’s training for the Crowlympics. It’s not smiling because it has to go work a shift at Home Depot after training for hours.


We got what you said the first time. No-one’s taking you seriously because we don’t know. Are we experts on bird body language and behaviour? I can’t see what you’re seeing that makes you so sure that she isn’t playing, but if she isn’t I don’t have the slightest idea what she is doing, let alone what she thinks she’s doing. Nor do any of us.


Seriously, my personal hunch is that the animal kingdom is choc full of intelligence. I think we as humans have been conditioned to be blind to this, with our so called ‘moral’ superiority by (little g) god given right. Which at the end of the day is just a fantasy of our own creation, a dangerous one at that.

No I seriously believe the animal kingdom to have examples of traits, even emotions we humans considered to be solely our right, I’m starting to come to the conclusion we are in actual fact too dumb to realise it yet. Shame.

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certainly looks that way. In fact the crow starts to slide down the gable end of the roof, no snow there. Realizes and moves back to where there is more snow. Intentional

Here are more intentional crows:


I think I’m with Glitch and Nelsie here. It’s trying to do something, but I have no idea what. It might be fun, but for all we know it might be frustrating. Who knows if Crows even experience those emotions? Birds are so goddamn inscrutable.

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Clearly the crow is not engaging in “fun”. It’s a crow scientist figuring out the coefficient of drag for snow. Of course it looks serious - there’s grant money at stake.


Put me in the ‘crows just wanna have fun’ camp. @Raybert’s call nailed it, I think:

Crows are pretty smart, and smart beings like to have fun.

I have a vague theory on how such a tiny brain can be so smart; if you remember how we have a pretty unique set-up that allows us to be so variable in character but also results in an absurdly long infancy and adolescence, it might be easy to see how we could be using our brains in a relatively inefficient way, next to the rest of the animal kingdom, who exhibit far more uniform behaviour on the whole.

Brains in general seem to be a collection of subsystems where each not only plays a part in a greater whole as a discrete unit with a specialised function but also in a less specific way as an element of the network that gives rise to awareness; this an extremely simple description, mind. So anyway, depending on how you slice it, each subsystem covers a category of functions or three, and in crows and other animals, evolution has honed these systems to be pretty damn efficient.

I guess I’m surmising that generally, the subsystems handle a lot of stuff for animals without much involvement of the overall network, ie conscious awareness, and that, um… you know what? I think my theory’s too vague to put into words.


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I went for a run today. Crissy Field in SF: Spring weather, warm sun…blue sky with wispy clouds. Saw a long billed curlew, walking beside a snowy egret…about 250 gulls. 3 Brandt’s cormorants on a rock just chillin’.

But zero crows/ravens…until I heard “AWK AWK AWK” A familiar call…I looked up to see a large black bird in the top of a tree…Until his mate shouted out “Cr-r-ruck Prruk!” He sounded so proud. Then he shut up. The avian dynamic hit somewhat close to home.

So I kept on running.