We thought crows were smart, but we had no idea …

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Nature didn’t see fit to give the crow any bright colours or fancy plumage. In fact, thanks to their black colour scheme, crows are often associated with death and decay. We even call a group of them a “murder.”

But while crows might have gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to looks, they’re no slouches in the brains department. We’ve known for a long time that crows are quite intelligent, able to use tools, and remarkably inventive. For example, did you know that crows will sometimes drop hard-shelled nuts at a traffic intersection during red lights, then collect the shattered nuts after cars run them over?

This video from BBC’s show Inside the Animal Mind shows us that they’re even smarter than we previously thought. In a groundbreaking experiment, they design a puzzle that requires eight steps to solve. After a bit of trial and error, the crow actually solves the complex problem, which involves using tools and a specific sequence of action.

At this point, maybe we should stop associating crows with death, and instead with tweed jackets and spectacles.

And while we’re on the subject of crows’ amazing intelligence, here are some more incredible facts about these clever birds:

  • In cities, crows have been known to build fake nests to fool predators.
  • Crows will sometimes herd a panicking sparrow into a building to stun them.
  • Crows will crush ants and rub the parts on themselves. It’s thought that the formic acid in the ants keeps away other insects.
  • Crows can recognize specific human faces and will give that person a name. They’ll make a specific, unique sound when they see their new friend.