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Crows: Encounters with the Wise Guys of the Avian World

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  402 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Who knew that crows are second only to humans as toolmakers and tool users, that they have complex family lives not unlike our own, and that their vocalizations resemble human languages? This witty, charming book introduces readers to these endlessly fascinating creatures. Author Candace Savage explores their evolution and basic biology, diet and food-gathering practices, ...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published September 28th 2007 by Greystone Books (first published 2005)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  402 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Here's the deal, people: crows are amazing. I could write a long review here, spewing my love for them, despite their loud caws outside my window at six-thirty on a Saturday morning. I could tell you all about their complex family and group dynamics, how they mate for life (even though the females are notoriously promiscuous), how they cache food and sparkly treasures, how they raid their fellow crows' caches, how they trick their fellow crows into thinking they're hiding their food and shiny tr ...more
This is a pleasant book about crows and ravens, full of anecdotes about the strange encounters that people often have with the species. Interspersed throughout fairly current scientific data about corvids - emotions they might feel, how they socialize, solve problems, create tools, and essentially form their own cultures - are myths and stories of how people have interacted with them over time. An interesting aspect of the book is that often the stories and myths hint at how well older cultures ...more
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable short non-fiction book about Crows, thought to be the smartest bird. Includes paintings, drawings & folklore tales about crows, ravens, & rooks.

My fascination with the corvid family of birds isn't with the crows, but with blue jays - close relatives. Books on just the blue jay subset are impossible to find, so I've focused on books featuring the larger corvid family.

Mr. & Mrs. Blue Jay live in the hedges in the neighbor's yard - have since I've lived here, 5 1/2 years. They hang out in
Saurabh Lahigude
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who notice crows
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017-fav
First of all, I love crows, I adore them.

So called certain events in my life led me to being locked out with no internet and this book. So I got to read this on the terrace while one such crow who hates me repeatedly kept shouting at me getting as close to me from all the directions he can and was eventually chased off by two such crows who knew me very well. During all this and bit of rain I couldn't help but notice few crows supporting his ruckus when he was around and some just came up to see
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was a disappointment. It wasn't particularly bad or anything... I just wish there was more. Trivial facts about the corvids presented in the book were neat and interesting. Including myths and folklore associated with crows and ravens was a nice touch. The writing itself, though, was not very polished and the book lacked continuity between chapters.

I would be hesitant to pick up another book by Savage. This is too bad because I was really interested in her book Bird Brain. I think I wi
Prabhu R.
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wildlife, nature, birds
A great book about the most common bird that we get to ignore. We tend to forget about these beautiful birds that are quite witty and intelligent and have a society setup of their own that is similar to the humans. This book changes the perspective we have about these birds.
Paula Kirman
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
An entertaining, fast read about the intelligence and behaviours of crows and ravens.
Travis Duke
A decent look into the world of the crow. The format of the book however is odd and detracts from the reading experience, it inserts small stories right in the middle of chapters. flipping a page in mid sentence sometimes will dump you in a random story from the author only to return to the original story pages later... I will say the book is easy to understand and the author does a good job on lightly toughing on certain subjects like communication, family, and intelligence. It is a very basic ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was such a delightful little book! I actually picked it up from the library a while back, but after reading Hollow Kingdom, it moved up on the TBR list. Full of folklore, beautiful art, and recent scientific discoveries about the brilliant corvid, it was an easily-handled little morsel of biological non-fiction.
Jane Hamilton
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
An attractive book with thick, artsy pages making it perfect for a casual dip. It roams through myth and crows in history and photographs. If you already know something about crows, I'd give this a pass, though, as it doesn't go into much detail. For instance, I would have loved to have heard more, much more, about the crows at the traffic lights in Japan--how did they happen upon this solution? How old are their young when they pass the knowledge along? Ditto for the ways crows attack people. T ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most interesting and entertaining non fiction books I've read in awhile. It's not long at 105 pages. Many of the pages are illustrations, plus there are illustrations sprinkled liberally through the book. I probably could have read this in one or two long sittings, but chose to read it a little at a time at night before I went to bed. The author has written and co-written quite a few books about the natural world although birds seem to be her thing. What she says about crows i ...more
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
LOVE Crows and am learning all I can about them. Great book for this.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature
A beautiful book full of research, anecdotes, photos and artwork. Those wonderful birds usually known simply as crows and ravens really are very intelligent beings capable of so much more than most have imagined.
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting information about crows. Sidebars and insets make it feel more like a coffee table book. Was pleased to see Professor Caffee's Oklahoma research noted.
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have fallen in love with crows. We have two families that come regularly to our feeders here in the Hiawatha National Forest. We have been observing them for 6 years. This summer, after learning to identify which family is here by the call of the female crow, after watching each mama crow come fir suet to store in her crop to take back to her babies, after watching crow families play hide and seek together in the trees, i was hungry for more information about these bright, hilarious birds. So ...more
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short book about crows. 😲
Weirdly, I was just browsing a local library while waiting for an appointment, and grabbed this off the shelf.

What the heck? There are no crows in central or South America?!

I like the passion for these birds here and the stories of their intelligence, sociableness, and curiosity.
I think most humans don't appreciate animals to the degree they deserve... at least in early 21st Century culture.
When I read books like this, I want to spend more time in nature, observing
John Nancekivell
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
So far, really great. Wonderful drawings and photos. Trying to share on FB but site not liking that. I'm interacting with 2 distinct murders (I think), urban about 3 or 4 blox apart. My Public Gardens group (Halifax, NS) is a 7crow murder-must be a witch there. One female (I'm guessing-seems more trusting) has a damaged feather on right shoulder, which doesn't inhibit her. The murder outside my apartment is max 4... they're more tame as they have to interact with people, dogs, buses and cars whe ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting enough for what it is, but felt a bit thrown together. The layout was quite distracting and didn't feel very well-designed. I was thrown off a few times by interspersed anecdotes that inexplicably interrupted the main text for a couple pages at a time. It's a coffee table book that's not really presented that way on the outside. Mildly interesting, but it's really just a compilation of stories and research from more in-depth sources. I also didn't like that the author mentioned at th ...more
David Worrell
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. It's a slim volume, but it's packed with interesting facts about crows, anecdotes, pictures, art, and fables. It's amazing how intelligent these birds are. They can use tools and solve problems. People have had them as pets. They're a very common bird but researchers know comparatively little about them, partially because they're so intelligent it's hard to capture, tag, and track them. This book has whet my appetite to know more about these incredible creatures. Highly recommen ...more
Hailey Hester
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked that this book contained actual research studies and facts about crows and ravens, but also a lot of neat anecdotes and references to corvids in literature, mythology, and pop culture. It was a nice balance. I also appreciated that it was approachable and not overly academic, but still had merit, sources, and academic studies behind it.
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
The artsy layout of this book is actually quite distracting. Chapters are interrupted by art work and fables that are not clearly delineated.

A sparse volume. I'm looking for a much better look at these fascinating birds.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Enjoyed the content of the book but the layout was incredibly distracting- with stories interspersed throughout the rest of the text which meant you either had to abandon what you were reading and read the story or flip back to it later.

All in all, I liked what was included.
I chose this book as part of the Book Riots 2018 Read Harder challenge. It is a beautiful book - full of interesting stories & facts about crows & ravens, and gorgeous illustrations. ...more
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable. I always love reading about crows.
Crows are such smart and fascinating creatures.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Some more fascinating facts and anecdotes for my research. Great book.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting, informative, and sprinkled with little curiosities.
Ruth Gates
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fun read. Enlightening
Judy Frabotta
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you are fascinated by crows and ravens you will love this book! Combining science, folklore and artwork, it is a delightful short read that manages to be both informative and entertaining.
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because I was curious about the hundreds of crows that flock downtown in the evenings during the winter months. Learned a lot, but not specifically about that.
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13 likes · 13 comments
“For their size, crows are among the brainiest organisms on Earth, outclassing not only other birds (with the possible exception of parrots), but also most mammals.” 0 likes
“She has, however, noticed one important difference between crows and us: their families are generally more peaceful than ours sometimes are. No matter what the provocation, family members usually work out their differences without violence or any other signs of overt aggression.” 0 likes
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