Re: In the Company of Crows and Ravens

If you’re interested in corvids or the intelligence in birds, you’ll enjoy In the Company of Crows and Ravens, by John M. Marzluff and Tony Angell. You can hear them discuss the book and more stories in a pair of interviews on KUOW. In the first one, Tony Angell does some amazing crow calls, and in the second interview, you go on a field trip and find out whether crows hate Dick Cheney.

The book is more generally about ravens and crows, and other corvids, such as blue jays. All these birds are smart in different ways. Calendonian crows make tools, bending wire into hooks, for example. The crows we mostly see are very social, and ravens are justly infamous as tricksters.

There’s some interesting speculation about the co-evolution of humans, wolves/dogs, and ravens. It might still be going on. In Japan, there are crows dropping nuts in the road so cars will crush them, even setting them directly in front of tires during red lights. When humans saw what they were doing, they started throwing nuts in the road to help the birds out.

In the radio interviews, most of the stories are about crows. Marzluff and Angell continue to do research with crows. Many of the callers have eerie stories to tell, about crow funerals, or crow executions. By the way, crows don’t give a flip about Dick Cheney.