03.01.2011 07:41 AM

The Trickster

As I have written before, and as some friends will tell you, I am a raven/crow nut; I’m obsessed by these birds. Along with chimpanzees, many of these creatures (such as the incredible New Caledonian crow) are the most intelligent animals on the face of the planet. I have raven native art all over my apartment, and I read whatever I can about them. I’m crazy about crows.

Thus, this amazing story, well worth a read. Ka-kaw!

Researchers believe that the ability to recognize humans is an extension of the crows’s ability to recognize each other, which helps them to warn one other about potential predators. This also means that if — oh, let’s stop kidding ourselves here — when they rise up against us, the crows will remember who threw out those tasty bread crumbs and who thought it was funny to spray them with the hose (in all fairness, it was pretty funny, just maybe not “worth having my eyes pecked out” funny).


  1. nic coivert says:

    Are you familiar with “What the Crow Said” a novel by Robert Kroetsch? There is a pet crow through out the novel, and it speaks. A terribly funny book.

  2. Cath says:

    You should seriously visit Chatham Ontario if you like these beasts. Every summer Chatham is swarmed by these birds. We often get news of them as they torment the humans.

  3. Pat Heron says:

    My brother — who died a couple of years ago — was, in his lifetime, an army officer, a social worker, an alcohol and drug counsellor, an AA member and a great friend and brother. But during his drinking years he was a logger in British Columbia. He often told great tales about ravens, who are always present on logging sites. Loggers believe that when they die they come back as ravens. Whenever I see a raven or hear one, I feel his presence!

    Oh yeah, and he was a Liberal who could get stomping mad at crazy BC Reformatories.

  4. Joe Boivin says:

    Read “Ravens in Winter” by Berndt Heinrich. Amazing book – you will respect ravens even more afterwards.

  5. Cow says:

    When I used to live in the Pacific Northwest–which is, of course, full of these magnificent creatures–I lived for a time in a small town somewhat near Seattle. I don’t know what I did wrong, but I couldn’t walk down the street without getting cawed at and divebombed for a time. It wasn’t just one–it was the entire murder, it seemed, walking down streets. Very eerie.

    I’ve never doubted that they can recognize and remember certain humans, after that. I should go back there someday and see if they’ve handed down their dislike of me (or maybe it was just mischief! who knows?) to future generations.

  6. Wannabeapiper says:

    I particularly love their voices, in the air, in early Spring at the cottage. They are one of the few living things not afraid of my pipes. Everthing else is gone, with the one obvious exception. The Loons, for some reason are very curious about the sound, I suspect because, that at times, there is some similarity between their tones and that of the pipes. As far as the complaining neighbours are concerned, well they are just ignorant tossers.

  7. Kevin says:

    And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
    On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
    And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
    Shall be lifted – nevermore!

    Thank you, Edgar Allan Poe

  8. Darren K says:

    Have you seen the 2007 movie KAW?


    It’s a horror movie, and a bad one at that, but it’s fun. Remember us going to a dawn to dusk horror marathon at the drive in? Tooooo many years ago.

  9. Terry says:

    Warren, the Nature of Things did a show last fall covering much the same material … worth watching.


  10. allegra fortissima says:

    Raven was wandering on the beach, when he heard some noise coming from a clam shell. He looked more closely and saw that it was full of little human creatures.

    They were terrified by the Raven and the big world outside the shell.

    “So, the Raven leaned his great head close to the shell, and with his smooth trickster’s tongue, that had got him into and out of so many misadventures, in his troubled and troublesome existence, he coaxed and cajoled and coerced the little creatures to come out and play in his wonderful, shiny, new world.”
    – Bill Reid, Haida artist.

    A beautiful story and a beautiful sculpture:


  11. Ann Jarnet says:

    On a holiday to les Iles de la Madeleine, my sister observed a crow picking up a discarded Oasis juice tretra pack, pick out the straw, and sling the container upwards to drink the remaining juice. Done like a pro, like the crow had done this a hundred times. Wish I had a picture to share.

  12. Spanky says:

    They definitely recognize faces. I was walking toward a shop in Victoria when a crow in a nearby tree squawked at me. It must have been nesting time. I squawked back and that set the crow off. It followed me down the street, going tree to tree and diving on my head at each turn. When I got to the mall it perched atop the facia over the doors. When I came out the damned thing was still there. It only took a moment or two for it to recognize me and it harried me all the way back to my car.

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