Black bathing beauties

I saw two crows taking a bath in the Pep Boys parking lot yesterday. I’ve seen birds take baths before in puddles, but I’d never seen crows do it.

These two were thrusting their heads in, dipping their shoulders in, letting the water roll down their backs and shaking their wings out, just as other birds do. It looked more spectacular when these crows did it though, because they are so much bigger than other birds and the water was going everywhere.

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I like crows. I like that a group of them is called a “murder” rather than a “flock.” They are very smart birds – they have more than 20 calls and scientists have discovered that crows have an entire language and culture. Once I was followed by three crows through the DVC campus. They’d hop from tree to building and make funny “chittering” noises while tipping their heads and looking at me.

I wonder what crows think about humans?

Alex the African Grey parrot knew about 150 human words and was able to have real conversations with humans, and it seems to me that crows have a more complex culture than parrots… so maybe crows would tell us what they think of us if someone could train them to use our language?

They would probably tell us off. The bathing beauties yesterday were having a great time until they noticed I’d stopped to gawk at them. The bigger one looked right at me and cawed a big “CAWWW!” just before he and his friend jumped into the air to fly away. He sounded like he was angry! I interpreted it as that he/she was telling me off: “Nosy human! Haven’t you got somewhere else to be?”

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