Nature: A Murder of Crows
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This 52-minute-long documentary is about behaviorial experiments several ornithologists from the U of Washington (UoW)in Seattle and the Konrad Lorenze Institut in Austria have been conducting to prove the intelligence of these fascinating birds. One of these researchers, John Marsluff, is a wildlife biologist at UoW who provides most of the scientific data. Crows are smart, highly sociable, opportunistic, grieve for their dead partners, "scold" passersby and learn from other crows. They are grossly misunderstood. They communicate within their flocks, have over 250 distinct crow calls and are very territorial. They can remember a face for up to two years. Although they don't have the largest brains in the bird world, they are the most intelligent of all birds and have benefitted from evolutionary intelligence.
The Seattle ornithologists show the viewing audience the unique "tricks" crows can do, including recording the antics of a crow sibling pair, White Wing and her brother, who are followed around via radio transmitter for the first year to record their behavior. This team walks around the UoW campus wearing spooky-looking full-face masks during the experiments which probably had passersby watching the film crew wondering what was going on.Read more ›
This documentary film is very well done but a bit too short for its purpose. I have to agree with one other reviewer who stated that the experiment in the film seemed inconclusive. However, the flaw does not lie in the experiment but the film itself. The mask experiment was actually a lot more extensive and it lasted much longer than what the film shows us. Not only the experiment included random subjects (people) who wore masks on and off but some of the masks were also modified to test the crows cognitive ability. At one point the caveman's mask was wore upside down yet the crows still recognized it and treated it as a threat. If you are interested in reading about these experiments and learn how the authors came up with all other conclusions you may want to read the book "Gifts of the Crow". There are many stories and accounts (even brain anatomy and chemistry) in this book to explain why crows deserve the title "feathered apes". One of the co-authors to "Gifts of the Crow", John Marzluff, is also behind this wonderful documentary. If the movie seems a bit confusing, the book will draw you a much clearer picture.
I would like the film even better if it was a bit longer.Read more ›
Now this might be a bit of spoiler, so be warned.
The individuals in this film carrying out a study on the learning cycle of crows did a very poor job, and the evidence was not just inconclusive, but dismissible. The idea was to find out if crows could not only recognize faces but also pass on that information to their young. Those completing the study wanted to see if baby crows would grow up and then still remember the faces of those that their parents found threatening while they grew up. They decided to wear masks and then ,they never explained how, but, while the masks were on they somehow caused the crows to feel threatened or in danger. Then they would walk by the crows without masks and find the crows did not caw but with the masks on they would caw warnings. They radio tagged a very small number of birds to follow as they grew up. They radio tagged them without the masks on. I found this to be a problem in the study.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love birds and we buy all the bird videos we can. I spent three years caring for a bunch of Ravens in California so I was excited to see this video, crows and ravens share so... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mark King
Learned so much.
The U W Story was so fun to learn about.
Want more crow news.
I'm not sure why this product is titled “A Murder of Crows”, almost like an episode of “Game of Thrones” or some other suitably dramatic fantasy story. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Ashtar Command
This is one of the most interesting studies on Crows. They are shockingly intelligent.Published 10 months ago by Happy Shopper
All of the PBS Nature series films are marvelous. I particularly love watching birds and have crows checking out our bird feeders daily. They are so interesting to watch. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Sputz
I love crows allot they are my favorite bird I knew allot about crows but I learned more about crows from this dvd.Published 12 months ago by Brian