Monday, March 28, 2011

American crow folklore and folklife

(not my photo)
I've been watching the play behavior of "gang" of young adult crows in my back yard.

At first I took it for aggressive behavior, that the crows were establishing status within the group, or vis a vis a potential mate.

The next time I saw them I realized that I'd watched these crows' parents doing the same flight maneuvers to harrass a large broadwing hawk ("my hawk" a few weeks ago, the one who shat on me.)

The young hawks were playing, like most young animals do.  And, in playing, building a repertory of complex maneuvers with substantial survival benefit.. 

But what has been written by scholars about crow behavior?  Not much, it turns out.  (I am aware of human folklore about crows, but know nothing about the crow's repertory of behaviors, their adaptability, reported proto-language capability, even tool-making and use.)

Check this article out, though, a profile of one of the few animal behaviorists who do study crows in a methodologically sound, scientific way.

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