Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Clever Crow

Most of us would have read in our childhood, the story of the thirsty crow who saw a pot half filled with water, collected small pebbles, threw them into the pot and, when the water-level had risen sufficiently, drank it to quench its thirst and flew away merrily. This was to show that crows are intelligent and clever.

I was witness to an intelligent act of another crow. It was 2006 or 2007 when I was working at Kolkata.

It was early morning and I was on my usual walk. I saw a crow flying, with a biscuit in its beak. It sat down and tried to eat it by pecking at it. But the biscuit was relatively hard and so the crow could not break it. The crow picked the biscuit and dropped it several times, perhaps hoping that this would break it. No, it did not break and the crow must have been disappointed.

I felt sorry for it and sympathized with it. :(((((((((((

It appeared like an interesting scene and I stopped to watch.

The crow did not give up. It looked around, presumably to survey the area and find out a way to eat the biscuit.

I continued watching it more intently, wondering what the bird’s next move would be.

A few moments later, the crow picked up the biscuit and hopped to the nearby drain. It dropped the biscuit on water at the edge of the drain. It waited for a few moments more. When the biscuit had become wet and soft, the crow fished it out of the water, hopped to a dry area, put down the biscuit and started pecking at it and enjoying the delicious meal. :)))))))))))))

After it had put the last remnant of the biscuit into its stomach, like its sibling in the story, the crow flew away merrily.

I was really amazed by the show of such intelligence by this common bird. I instantly agreed with the theme of story, which till then I had considered as a mere fiction.

As the saying goes, seeing is believing.

Doesn’t the derisive word ‘bird-brained’ need a make-over?


  1. If you can watch youtube look at this:

    In the lab, the New Caledonian crow figures out that it needs to make a hook in order to get at some food.

    1. I watched the youtube and enjoyed the feat of the crow etc. It is really amazing.

  2. BTW, your post jogged my memory, when I was little, the Indian Express Trivandrum edition had a bunch of photographs which were supposedly of a crow dropping pebbles into a pot.

  3. After reading the post! Yes I think we need to change the concept! :P

  4. Apparently crows are as intelligent, if not more, as dolphins and chimpanzees! :)