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Nature: A Murder of Crows (2010)

Narrated by Nora Young , Susan Fleming  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Narrated by Nora Young
  • Directors: Susan Fleming
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: January 11, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00443FMIY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,394 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

New research has shown that crows are among the most intelligent animals in the world, able to use tools as only elephants and chimpanzees do, able to recognize each other's voices and 250 distinct calls. Crow experts from around the world sing their praises, and present us with captivating new footage of crows as we have never seen them before.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a bird brain December 16, 2010
The title of this short documentary refers to the high mortality of wild crows from a variety of reasons: predators, car crashes, diseases, extreme weather, people shooting at them. Only 40% of hatchlings make it to their first year, another 50% don't see their second birthday. Crows can recognize a face out of a crowd, especially the ones who have been enemies of the crows, and tell the rest of their flock who the bad guys are. Thus the title of this work.

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.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nature: A Murder of Crows June 24, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As a person raised in the country and in love with the outdoors, I always had a dislike for crows. I never really understood why, it just was. Maybe it had to do with the way they always seemed to rat me out when hunting. Having watched this documentary on crows changed both my wife and my attitude and appreciation for the crow. It is amazing how a study like this can have such a profond effect on you. We now admire the crow and we watch them in the wild whenever they around. A fascinating creature of God, equally fascinating documentary.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this is very cool April 25, 2011
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Nature did a really good job of presenting some quite amazing facts. It's very likely to change the way you look at Crows. You can rest assured, they're studying what you are doing.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Murder of Crows - not perfect but very good work August 23, 2012
Our fascination with corvids began, this late spring, when we rescued 4 magpie chicks from some murderous crows. At that point we really thought magpies were the underdogs and crows, bullies. But as we started reading about corvids we began to realize how closely the two birds were related to each other. We observed them every day for 3 months, they are truly amazing! I am sure there are plenty people out there believe corvids are nothing but pesky creatures. Only if they understood how intelligent these birds really are.

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.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By Chuck
I'm a little thrown off by all the positive reviews. I love birds, and I find crows particularly clever and interesting. After finishing David Attenborough's "Life of Birds" I thought I would move on to this one, for some more focused attention on crows. While it's unfair to compare this to Attenborough's work, it's worth saying that it comes no where near the caliber of quality, footage or insight. I didn't find the documentary to contain any unique or insightful footage, just a regular shot of crows pecking through trash here, and gathering on power lines there. If you've never seen a crow use a tool before to get grubs, then this might be interesting in a couple of places ("Life of Birds" has much better footage of this though).
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars they're are great bird!
Very interesting documentary - should be more DVD'S available on the behaviour of crows and ravens, never underestimate their intelligence. And anyway, they're are great bird!! Read more
Published 15 days ago by Lea Syms
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very informative, & I have a deeper appreciation for crows after watching this dvd
Published 19 days ago by Cathy D
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good movie!
Published 2 months ago by E. Meyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Service is great and vider top drawer...
Very interesting..never knew birds could be so interesting...service was great...
Published 3 months ago by patti cox
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful special about 'the secret lives of crows'
If you love crows, and always thought they were smarter than people gave them credit for, then you will love this video!
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I love crows and now have a better understanding of their ...
The nature series always teaches and entertains. I love crows and now have a better understanding of their accomplishments. What awsomely smart creatures. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Toby J. Fox
5.0 out of 5 stars The Genius of Crows!
I have watched this documentary several times on the Nature of Things and the Doc Zone. Crows being related to my favourite bird, the raven, are simply amazing. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Peggy Kasuba
5.0 out of 5 stars So Cool!
This is a great show about how intelligent crows are!
It really makes you think and appreciate these creatures who are often thought of as pests. Read more
Published 4 months ago by A. Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars For Crow Lovers......
This beautiful dvd shows you how smart these fantastic birds really are. Great information and filmed with perfection. I must see
Published 5 months ago by J. ALLEN
1.0 out of 5 stars UNPLAYABLE!!!!!
The format is wrong! The DVD will not play on any pc or player that I've tried! Pretty upset because it was supposed to be a gift for a hospital-bound friend!
Published 7 months ago by Richard T.
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