The Entertaining, Helpful, and Intelligent Crows in Our Backyards

“Caw, caw, caw.” My backyard crows demand my attention. I imagine you have crows in your area, too. I feed my murder of crows regularly. They enjoy leftovers, sunflower seeds, dog food, and peanuts in the shell. They, in turn, help watch over our property.

Many years ago, when I was still raising pet ducks, my crows tried to warn me with loud, intense cawing that a predator was in the yard. I was visiting with my sister and didn’t investigate right away. Their insistent warning calls finally brought me to my feet and I hurried outside. A fox had climbed over the fence and dropped inside the duck pen. The vixen had killed seven young ducks. I stopped the massacre and saved two. I should have listened sooner.

I now pay close attention to their vocalizations and even try to communicate back. I call out, “Caw, caw, caw” before I give them their treats. They often call back. I also indulge in reading crow stories on the internet and viewing their antics and evidence of their intelligence on YouTube. I relish learning facts about these amazing birds. 

The Audubon Society,, shares astounding facts. Considered on par with chimpanzees, crows and ravens are among the world's smartest animals. Watching this YouTube,, featuring a crow dropping a stone into a tall cylinder-shaped container of water to raise the level so he can get a drink, is evidence of their intelligence. Check out this YouTube,, where a crow tackles a challenging puzzle to earn a treat. 

I especially like witnessing the interaction between crows and humans. One YouTube features Tuck, an African Pied Crow, who says, “Hi Tuck,” “Hello,” and, if he wants attention, he shrieks, “What!” Staff at the American Eagle Foundation trained Tuck in object recognition. They place several objects on the ground surrounding his small toy tire. Every time they tell him, “Touch the tire,” he does so.

One YouTube points out that crows are very social animals and family-oriented. In the wild, they will have up to five generations living together. The whole family will build the nest together. Yearlings and two-year-olds will help keep it clean, and feed their mother while she’s incubating eggs or caring for the youngsters. I contrast this with other bird species, such as the eagle, where young chicks have pushed a sibling out of the nest so they get more food. (It’s called siblicide.) A friend watched a bigger loon sibling continually peck at the smaller one. Soon, only one chick remained.

My favorite YouTube highlights Klaus, a crow raised by a teacher whose students told him they had found an abandoned baby crow. The teacher cared for Klaus until he fledged. Then, even though he had the freedom to fly away, Klaus remained in the teacher’s garden. It’s entertaining to watch cheeky Klaus pick his owner’s pocket, take credit cards out of his wallet, peck at his shirt and hair, and enjoy the routine of visiting with him in the mornings while the teacher enjoyed coffee on his outdoor patio. Klaus loved to take a bath in his special tub. Afterward, the teacher used a blow dryer to fluff Klaus’s feathers.

Audubon cites evidence that crows recognize faces and will remember kindness or hold a grudge for generations. Crows have scolded and dive-bombed researchers who captured them, remembering the offense ten years later. And they’ve brought gifts to kind-hearted souls. Check out BBC’s article, “The Girl Who Gets Gifts From Birds,” which showcases a young girl who fed crows regularly and was rewarded with an array of trinkets.

Would you (with the approval of your neighbors) like to befriend the entertaining, helpful, and intelligent crows in your area? Check out this YouTube and find out how.

2 Replies to “The Entertaining, Helpful, and Intelligent Crows in Our Backyards”

Anita Schmitz

You have brought new light to my understanding of crows. I always thought they were noisy birds and kind of mean. Now as I watch them in my neighborhood I see them trying to chase away the red tailed hawks who the neighbors say kill the song birds.
Now I look forward to the caw caw caw!!!
Your appreciation of nature is bountiful.

Anita Schmitz

Hi Anita,
I’m thrilled that I made you look at crows in a new light. I find them fascinating. Thanks for reading.

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