Easily my favorite viral video this year: a snowboarding hooded crow. Watching the bird hop on a disc and zip down a rooftop, I was delighted by the behavior (and also a little jealous that, rather than fly, I have to take the lift when skiing or slog up the hill when sledding). Apparently, the Russian-speaking family recording the event is also impressed, complimenting the crow on its sledding skills
I ran the video by renowned birder and field guide author Kenn Kaufman, who hadn’t heard of this particular behavior before. “There are quite a few published instances of ravens and crows playing in the snow, including cases where one member of a pair of ravens would slide headfirst down a slope while the other would roll down the same hill,” he wrote in an email. “And there are cases of corvids using simple ‘tools’ to obtain food. So it looks like what we have here is a Hooded Crow combining these two forms of intelligent behavior: tool-using to enhance its play.”
Corvids—crows, ravens, rooks, and the like—are also known to learn behaviors from watching each other, which begs the question: In the near future will we see gangs of crows slicing down rooftops on makeshift snowboards?
In the meantime, here’s more on how clever corvids are:
Problem Solvers: Crows and Rooks Use Tools to Retrieve Food
Here’s a video from the post, which shows a crow experiencing a ‘Eureka!’ moment, when the solution to a problem suddenly becomes clear. See more videos here.
Crows Don’t Forget a Human Face, But We Can't Recognize Individual Crows
Think you have the ability to pick a particular crow out of the crowd? Follow the link to the quiz.
Ravens Know How to Make a Point
Scientists have found that wild ravens make gestures, a feat even most primates can’t manage. What the birds are saying, however, is anyone’s guess.
A video featured crows in Japan dropping nuts into a busy intersection, waiting for them to be crushed by cars, then retrieving the bits.