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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 (46 customer reviews)

List Price: $19.99
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Nature: A Murder of Crows + Nature: My Life as a Turkey + Nature: An Original Duckumentary
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Product Details

  • Actors: Narrated by Nora Young
  • Directors: Susan Fleming
  • Format: 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 (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00443FMIY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,010 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

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
59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a bird brain December 16, 2010
Format:DVD
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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22 of 22 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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16 of 16 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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8 of 8 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
Format:DVD
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On Behalf of My Crow Friends December 29, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have been feeding a family of crows on my side yard for several years now, and can attest to their intelligence and sociability. I started rewarding them with food when they started to chase the hawks away from my bird feeder whenever the latter came around. We came to a bargain: I would provide regular snacks - and they would keep the hawks away. I started to mimic their calls and after about a year they will generally come quickly now (in a couple of minutes) when I call then. Likewise, they will call to let me know that they're outside and would like some food. Since we no longer have a dog(s), I have found the crows to be good eaters of leftovers, so they now *help* in disposing of items from my regular cleaning out of the fridge.

They particularly like french fries (preferably w/ketchup) and pasta (w/red sauce). (Of course they like meat but we are vegetarians so they're mostly out of luck in that regard. Like some children, they're not big on eating vegetables!)

This is a good film to introduce people to crows' intelligence and ability, and especially to let people know that animals in general also have intelligence of their own. Once upon a time (as virtually all fairy tales/legends tell) we human beings had much closer relationships with the animals we share this earth with. We lost much of that when we moved from agrarian to industrialized societies. But the animals are still there, and still willing to listen and relate to/with us - if we are interested in giving them the chance.

This might be a great film, along with the Hutto one on turkeys, for a teen who may be interested in pursuing a career in wildlife studies.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 21 days ago by Richard T.
5.0 out of 5 stars genius bird
Fascinating program. Fascinating bird. Very eye opening and informational. If you've an interest in birds we highly recommend this one.
Published 29 days ago by Macadew
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting
I learned a lot about the crows that we all think are pests they are very intelligent id love to have one for a pet
Published 1 month ago by charles e yeater
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Video
Very informative and I love that it is done in my home town and that I was able to meet the researcher...can't get much better than that unless I was able to tag along! Thanks.
Published 1 month ago by Jesse Beitz
5.0 out of 5 stars We love crows!
Ohmygosh. How do I love thee, let me count the ways! "A Murder of Crows" is a fascinating documentary into the behaviors of these misunderstood birds. Read more
Published 2 months ago by P. Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Gave as Gift.
I loaned mine to a friend and never got it back. I picked one up for my Mom. Good study on crow intelligence.
Published 3 months ago by Kathleen Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting documentary
My 6-year-old son and I very much enjoyed this DVD. Lots of educational information, easily understandable scientific explanations. Very interesting look at an everyday animal.
Published 3 months ago by Allison Iles
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Video about the life of Crows
This video will totally suprise you with the intellengence of crows, including crows gathering for another dead crow. Totally worth it!
Published 4 months ago by C. Hillyer
5.0 out of 5 stars The next time you see a murder of crows in a tree, pay attention:...
This documentary has convinced me that crows are more intelligent than some people I know. You might learn something from them.
Published 4 months ago by Zarathustra
5.0 out of 5 stars Just love this!!
I watched this special on PBS and had to have to watch whenever I wanted to. I really love crows and this presentation is probably why
Published 4 months ago by HeatherRose
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