The Way of the Crow




1  1 Kings 17:2-6.

2  Leahy, p. 5, and Tony Angell, Ravens, Crows, Magpies and Jays, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1978:51.

3  Elders Angela Sidney, Kitty Smith, and Rachel Dawson, My Stories are my Wealth, as told to Julie Cruikshank, for the Council of Yukon Indians. Whitehorse: Willow Printers, 1977:IV.

4  Annemarie de Waal Malefijt, Religion and Culture: An Introduction to Anthropology of Religion, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1968:162.

5  The foregoing crow legends are summarized accounts of legends by Elders Angela Sidney, Kitty Smith, and Rachel Dawson, in My Stories are my Wealth, pp. 1-3.

6  Arthur C. Bent, Life Histories of North American Jays, Crows, and Titmice, New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1946:226.

7  Christopher Leahy, The Birdwatcher's Companion, illustrated by Gordon Morrison, New York: Hill and Wang, A Division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Published simultaneously by McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd., Toronto, Canada, 1982:164.

8  Leahy,164.

9  Candace Savage, Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies and Jays, Greystone Books, Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver and Toronto, 1995, p. 86.

10  Angell, 1978:64.

11  Tony Angell, 1978:53. Crows are of much benefit in cleaning up waste matters from farms, and the country side generally. As well, people generally overlook the contribution crows make in controlling the insect population.

12  Angell, p. 81.

13  Robert W. Powell, "Operant Conditioning in the Common Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)," The Auk, 1972, Vol. 89:738-742.

14  Irene M. Pepperberg, "A Communicative Approach to Animal Cognition: A Study of Conceptual Abilities of an African Gray Parrot," in Cognitive Ethology:The Minds of Other Animals, edited by Carolyn A. Ristau (Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991), pp. 159-160.

15  Florence Hubley of Tantallon, Nova Scotia, comments on this characteristic of crows in her letter. She remarks, "We covered him over at night with a box. He would snap at us if we touched him."

16  Francis Henry Allen, "The Aesthetic Sense in Birds as Illustrated by the Crow," Auk, 1919, Vol. 36:112-113.

17  The common crow's ability to "imitate" extends beyond mimicking or mocking behaviours. J.P. Porter writes that "One crow mastered a novel door-opening response by watching another bird that had been trained previously to open the door in a puzzle-box experiment. The crow's good memory permitted it to apply what it had observed the other crow doing." See J.P. Porter, "Intelligence and Imitation in Birds: A Criterion of Imitation," American Journal of Psychology, 1910, Vol. 21:1-71.

18  Bent, 1946:226 ff.

19  Crows seem to enjoy moving objects around - even playing with them. Joan Stiles comments, "One of his (Jake, the crow) most devilish deeds, was swinging upside down on our neighbour's clean clothes on the clothes line. She would come running out with her broom to chase him away, he would just hover over her head and taunt her. When she went inside he would take the clothes pins off the clothes, let them drop to the ground, and then play in them."

20  See Millicent Flicken, "Avian Play," The Auk, 1977, Vol. 94:573-582.

21  Fred J. Pierce, "A Crow that Nearly Looped the Loop," Wilson Bulletin, 1923, Vol. 34:115.

22  Among other things, the crow may be the means for receiving guidance, inspiration, and communication from the Spirit world -- therefore, it may be called a messenger. 


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