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Crows: Encounters with the Wise Guys Hardcover – October 6, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Greystone Books (October 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1553651065
  • ISBN-13: 978-1553651062
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this charming introduction to the genus Corvus, Savage consolidates scientific research with myths and legends, to attest to the cleverness of crows, ravens, rooks and jackdaws. Savage begins with reports of tool-use by crows in New Guinea; they not only use bits of twig to dig insects out of narrow holes, but they also shape the twigs to form hooks that grab insects and prevent them from escaping. As legends show, humans have been fascinated by crows for thousands of years, and the raven plays a prominent role in many aboriginal creation myths. Synthesizing science and storytelling, Savage shows that the ancient image of crow-as-trickster bears out among contemporary researchers, who have observed such crow behavior as misrepresentation and misdirection. In addition, some species of crow show evidence of language skills and even artistic sensibility (as in the case of a winged shell collector). They also exhibit cooperative child-rearing, as well as grieving behavior after losing a mate or chick. Though this illuminating book ends too quickly, readers wishing to follow up on the clever Corvus will be quite pleased with Savage's detailed footnotes and lengthy list of references.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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She has an excellent additional reference list and a good index.
Valda Wells
Candace Savage's book is not an acedemic tome, or a scientific study..it's a wonderful, witty, captivating exploration into these amazing birds.
Sagesmoke
This book is a good stepping off point for people who have a casual interest and would like to get started learning about crows.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Sagesmoke on March 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you, like me, love the image of Crows as "swaggering black-clad wise guys", then this book is for you!

Candace Savage's book is not an acedemic tome, or a scientific study..it's a wonderful, witty, captivating exploration into these amazing birds.

The many beautiful illustrations, including several by Arthur Rackham, as well as Pacific Northwest Indian designs, are a treasure in themselves, and her inclusion of myths and legends of this fabled bird make this book an incredible treat. I laughed and cackled all the way through it!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Killen-Courtney VINE VOICE on January 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Candace Savage writes about crows the way I think about them; with a great appreciation for their astonishing intelligence, an insight into their dark depths, and their wry humor (yes, they're that smart.) She also gathered together a visual feast spanning centuries and cultures that showcase human's fascination and sense of kinship with crows. She's got the best of the corvid researchers thoughts in here, but most enjoyable of all is her own writing and obvious love for this darkly gleaming tribe that continues to thrive right along side us.
I highly recommend this work, and Ms. Savage should be very proud of what she accomplished with it.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book. It is beautifully done. When I ordered it, I was looking for a book with an overview of the intelligence of Crows and that is exactly what I got...along with beautiful pictures and interesting folk tales about corvids. This book is a good stepping off point for people who have a casual interest and would like to get started learning about crows. There is a very good listing of books in the back of this book for further reading about these magnificant birds.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wings42 on March 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Crows" is a short collection of unorganized and disorganized anecdotes. There is little text on each page, and the book is short. Brief stories from myth and legend are interspersed with the text as two page inserts that irritatingly look like the rest of the text. Whenever these myths and legends are inserted, the reader is confused when the previous pages' text don't just continue on the next page.

Crows are great, kindred spirits that have gotten an undeserved bad rap. This book, while entertaining, is mostly fluff and little substance. It is just the merest taste of the intelligence and personality of these birds. For learning about crows, ravens, and ourselves at a deeper level I recommend "Mind of the Raven" by Bernd Heinrich, "Bird Brains" by Candace Savage (same author), and "Caw of the Wild" by Barb Kirpluk (what a name for a bird enthusiast!).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Guild TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am an avid Birder and have a large library of bird and Natural History books. Over the years I have see many books on birds that are just a bunch of fluff gathered together by an editor and/or publisher. At a cursury glance,this might appear to be such a book. However;If you are familiar with the author;you'll know that she has authored several excellent books about birds.

This book is a first class look at Crows.It covers history,legend,personal experiences,behaviour and more importantly many intersting things that are recently being learned by some of the best scientists and researchers around today. They have learned things that just might convince you that crows are much more intelligent than they have ever been credited for. Well,not everyone. It is a pretty well known fact to anyone who has spent time in the country;that crows are exceptionally wary. Just try to get anywhere near them carrying a rifle;even if well concealed.You haven't got a hope!
Whether a very knowledgeable birder or one who just enjoys watching crows around where they live;you will be amased at what is in this book.
As a long time Birder,I must admit,I haven't spent much attention on crows.We see them everywhere;and well,they're just there!
After reading this book I am going to pay much more attenion to them;and I highly recommend it.
I am reminded of those famous words of that great Baseball Player,Yogi Berra;
"You can see a lot by watching!"

On top of being an excellent book because of its subject matter;it has excellent construction,high quality paper,top of the line color rendition and printing.It also comes with excellent references and notes.How can you go wrong with such a fine book? You just can't!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Valda Wells on August 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Although there are quite a few miles between Saskatoon and New York, it seems clear to me that many of Candace Savage's Wise Guys and ours must be relatives! They've worked out a real-estate-sharing arrangement with cardinals, blue jays, and many smaller birds (plus squirrels, etc.) -- all in and around a huge oak tree in our back yard. If they're not out and around, I know it's not going to be such a good day.

Ms. Savage covers crow-family relationships and behavior as well as their interactions with urban or rural human surroundings. Her illustrations are many and as varied and wonderful as their subjects - current and historic, geographically and culturally significant. She has an excellent additional reference list and a good index.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John M. Boland on October 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an avid reader of nature and nonhunting outdoor books, I was severely disappointed with this book. I had previously read Ms Savage's book "Prairie, A Natural History" and was looking for the same scientific and somewhat scholarly approach. "Crows" was a very cursory. The author did not delve into any specific area such as intelligence, life cycle etc. She only touched on others research. There was no original information. She gave more attention to myths, fables and old artworks.
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