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  • Lesley Morrison

Why Crows Will Make it to Doomsday Laughing

There are those among us who have completely biased advantages. Born rich. Born gorgeous. Born smart. But are these seemingly lucky turns just random? Or are they a part of something long enduring and working painstakingly behind the scenes?

Now enter the Crow.

Our favorite swaggering hero is one such product of millions of years of evolutionary tweaking. The same way being born rich or beautiful or smart is inherited from a long family history and upbringing, so too does the crow adopt its unique capabilities for surviving our world.

Usually a symbol of cleverness, trickery, and magic, the crow is also endowed with tremendous ecological strength: that of being hopelessly social.

Being social means having the power of punch behind you, and when squaring off against its much bigger cousin the raven, or an intruding owl or eagle, these black sorcerers know how to wrangle in the herds to fight for a good cause.

If you follow the endless shrill cries of 10 - 100 crows rallying in ear-searing defiance, you can bet there is a very annoyed predator around.

This social behavior marks us humans as well, and our own advances throughout history have proven just how profitable it is to stick together. It is how crows learn, growing up within a complex family group. A crow can remember things well and can return to its family nest site even after a year of exploring the world on its own. They also remember where the food is - parking lots, restaurant dumpsters, or parks spilling over with small children that like to run with their food.

But even though these street smarts prove worthy of natural selection, sometimes the world of the crow requires a more advanced intellect. so what does it do? Make tools, of course. What us humans have likewise been doing for quite some time.

Crows have, around the world, proven that they know their way around this place and how to manipulate resources as well as any human. But why will they be on our tails at the end of the modern world?

First of all, they will eat anything, from anywhere, and if the last pickle on earth were trapped inside the last pickle jar, you can believe a crow would find a way in. Many other birds, like the eagle, are naturally geared to certain terrains. Eagle likes to catch fish. They also like to steal fish from other critters and, although that makes them situational thieves and scoundrels, they have not adapted to camp out at McDonald's for the lunch crowd and their food splattered packaging.

Crows are also terribly adaptable. Even their cousins the ravens have changed hunting and feeding strategies over generations to meet food demands in times of scarcity. having such an open mind allows the Corvids options, a trait that keeps us and them laughing at the top of the heap.

So the next time you see a murder of crows hanging out close by, remember: they ARE watching you, and your food, plotting the next big win. Or at the very least, waiting for the last potato chip.

Go ahead and indulge. It happens to be one of their favorites!

Image taken from BirdNote, photo by Mitchell Haindfield

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