Crow season starts March 13. I don’t suppose there are very many crow hunters among us these days. But many of you can probably remember when crow hunting was a more popular activity, complete with crow calls and owl decoys. To top it off, there used to be a bounty on crows, so a little mad money could be made from the hunt.
However at the end of the day, I suspect that most hunters did not make enough from the bounty to even pay for the shells. Crows are perhaps one of our more widely despised and persecuted birds. The old bounty on crows, since removed, was largely because crows were considered to depredate crops and poultry. Although they may occasionally cause depredation problems, they are generally much more beneficial than harmful to humans. As a result, they are now a protected species outside of a short hunting season. If you think about it, crows are an amazingly intelligent and successful bird.
It might surprise you, but crows are known to use tools and can communicate with one another through over twenty different kinds of calls. They are also able to recognize and remember individual people. They have a lot in common with us humans, and as such may be a lot more intelligent than most of believe. Alex Kacelnik, a zoologist at Oxford conducted an experiment in which a relative of the American Crow, a New Caledonian crow, extracted a bucket of food from inside a tube by bending a straight piece of wire. Now that’s a smart crow!
I suppose most of you have heard of the television show “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader.” If you are interested in battling wits with a crow, NPR and the California Academy of Sciences have teamed up to construct an online quiz “Are You as Smart as a Crow?” The quiz is accompanied with some interesting information on crows in video clips, audio, and text.
I have included links to the crow quiz as well as a ted.com video presentation on crow intelligence which includes footage of a crow extracting a bucket of food from a tube on prairie public radio’s website. The links are included with the text of this Natural North Dakota, and are accessible at prairiepublic.org. I hope you will visit the sites, I think you will find them interesting.
Are you as smart as a crow? Take the quiz (and more) constructed by NPR and the California Academy of Sciences here.
Here is the link for video presentation on crow intelligence from ted.com which includes footage of a New Caledonian crow extracting a bucket of food from within a tube.
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Dakota College at Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
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