JULY 24, 2020 AT 3:53 PM
Don’t tick off this black bird or it might remember you and take revenge
Don’t cross a crow. While they’re known for their loud “caw” and messing up your garden, research shows that they’ll also remember your face if you’re mean to them.
Zoologists John Marzluff and his research team decided to wear masks, in a recent study, to see if the crows they were observing would remember what they looked like.
They followed the crows from five locations, each time capturing 7-15 birds while wearing masks. The captured crows would would scold them with a harsh, repeated “caw,” accompanied by wing and tail flicking, sounding the alarm to other crows and animals nearby. Other crows in the area would caw loudly as well, even “dive bombing” the researchers in some cases.
The only time the crows didn’t react loudly was when researchers switched to a more neutral mask.
As the study wore on, more and more crows became leery of the researchers as they switched from location to location. After three years of studying the black bird, close to 70 percent of crows didn’t trust the masked men.
Crows are able to retain this information about their “caretakers” because the amygdala in their brain is similar to those in humans and other mammals, which is responsible for recognition.
In a follow up study, Marzluff noted that when crows spot a familiar face their brains light up like a human mind.
He also noted that if you fed and were nice to the captive birds that they were better-behaved and looked at humans as “valued social partners, rather than animals that must be feared.”
In short, it took scientists over three years to learn what most of us knew in kindergarten – that the golden rule applies to birds, and other animals, as well as humans. Author: Bradley Jordan