The Intelligence of Crows

I have a bird-bath in my garden. It’s not a very big bird-bath, but it is frequented by a great variety of birds, large and small, from blue tits and robins, to pigeons and magpies. I have to fill it up every morning, and often have to clean it out – birds are not the cleanest of creatures whilst taking a bath! On a couple of occasions recently I’ve even had to scoop sodden bits of burnt toast and mouldy bread out of the water! ‘Must’ve been dropped by a bird flying over the garden,’ I thought, naively.
Then one afternoon last week I spotted the culprit. A crow was sitting on the edge of the bird-bath, with a whole slice of bread clamped in his beak. He stood for a moment, looking round, and then quite deliberately dropped it into the water, swooshed it about with his beak, and then started eating it. I grabbed my camera; but the crow spotted me creeping closer, and he was off, leaving another soggy piece of bread in my bird-bath!
I live in West Sussex, Southern England, in a town called Crawley, an area once covered with oak forests. The name Crawley comes from the old English ‘crawe’, meaning crow, and ‘ley’, meaning clearing in a wood; hence Crawley means ‘a clearing in a crows wood’, so of course, we do have a large number of crows! I had thought they were just noisy, belligerent birds, I hadn’t realised that they are really quite intelligent!
Reminds me of the Alfred Hitchcock film from 1963, based on the 1952 story by Daphne du Maurier – The Birds …….!


2 thoughts on “The Intelligence of Crows

  1. What an interesting bit of behaviour, they really are very intelligent birds, obviously it found the bread easier to swallow when wet. I also live in Crawley and it is interesting that crows were once so numerous in this area that people named their whole village after them, in hindsight I would rather they had named it after the Oaks or a hill or anything but crows as it is not the most pleasant sounding names!

  2. It was quite fascinating, and certainly an eye-opener for me where crows are concerned! And yes, I agree, Crawley is rather a drab sounding name, perhaps something to do with oaks trees would’ve been much nicer 🙂

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