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Crows: Encounters with the Wise Guys of the Avian World

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  266 Ratings  ·  50 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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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
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
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.
Mme LionHead
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
Jane Eaton 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.
Saurabh Lahigude
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who notice crows
Shelves: 2017-fav, non-fiction
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
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.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you are a friend of genus corvus, this book is a must-read. Detailed, with the occasional myth thrown in, this book is a gem.
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: High school and up
Recommended to Linden by:

Caught by an online video of a New Caledonian crow's problem-solving capacity, I embarked on a binge of crow-raven reading. Interested as I am in animal minds, I combed my local libraries for books in the small 598.864 bird- and the larger 591.513 animal-behavior sections, the latter for chapters on crows.

Like many books, this one gave much space to the mythology and historical views of crows. Though small--105 pages--it is the most beautiful of the lot, in both text and image, a portmanteau of
I dabbled in this book, reading most of it, but skipping some bits that didn't interest me. It was a mixed bag of stories, folklore, mythology, poems, anecdotes, and research - all involving crows. I was hoping it would be thick with experiments and heavy on research - delving deeply into corvid intelligence - but it glosses over these things. I'm going to have to find something more satisfying for my inner ornithologist to feast on.

Here's a neat excerpt, though:

"Back in the lab, the biologists
PJ Who Once Was Peejay
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love crows. Yeah, I know. Crows are a hard sell to many people. But I'm fascinated by their intelligence, their creativity, and that look of presence when their eyes meet yours. So I was eager to read this book.

It surprised me when it arrived: it's a thin volume, only 113 pages including the index, but unusually weighty because it's lavishly illustrated (every other page) on high-quality, heavy paper and beautifully put together. It takes great advantage of the space between the covers, crammi
Westminster Library
This was a great little book about a creature that is both loved and reviled around the world and throughout history. If you want to know more about crows (and ravens) but don’t want an in-depth scientific text, this is a great introduction. A quick and enjoyable read, the book is full of anecdotes, myths and illustrations from around the world.

Find Crows: Encounters with the Wise at Westminster Public Library today!

Crows: Encounters with the Wise, reminds me of Crow by Boria Sax and Pigeon b
Jan 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
This is a beautifully designed, thoughtful assortment of facts and anecdotes revolving around crows — part of the always enjoyable subset of popular science with a literary bent. I'd reference Diane Ackerman and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, minus the autobiographical stuff.

A bit confused by some of the disappointed reviews longing for a more serious ornithological study. Really? This is 105 pages long and filled with photos, illustrations and inset tales. Check out "Further Reading" (pp. 107-10) for
Dec 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I've always found crows fascinating and was excited to read this book. It was interesting enough but in the end nothing special.

There are some interesting facts and anecdotes but their presentation is a bit disjointed. The majority of the material seems to be made up of speculation and, in some instances, open bias of the author's affection for the book's subjects.

Overall, it's a worthwhile experience if you're interested in learning a bit more about these intelligent creatures. Don't expect to
Hector Ibarraran
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have loved corvids for many years. In this book, the author intermingles folk stories with illustrations and scientific research to bring our feathered friends to life. Although short, I enjoyed reading this book quite a bit, and may actually buy a paper copy to read again and again through the day until I soak in all the tales, pictures, and facts. I think anyone who is at least mildly interested in crows should read this one. It isn't super long and can probably satisfy most people's curiosi ...more
Gerri Leen
Jul 24, 2010 rated it liked it
From the title, you'd think this would be the author's first-hand adventures with crows. It's really not that kind of book. It's a charming book, for what it is, but it pretty much a coffee-table book that's not coffee-table size, and it just rehashes a lot of facts and lore from other folks. It's beautifully presented and all in one place, but I read it wayyyyyy too fast for this to have any meat to it. Also, am the only one who hates "boxes" or insets that interrupt the main text and you have ...more
Feb 07, 2009 rated it liked it
It's a great coffee table book, but that's all it is. The pictures are great and the little stories are fun to read, but if you want a serious study of crows, then you really need to look elsewhere. This book does not provide any information you can't find elsewhere. Candace quotes a few times from Bernd Heinrich, who is the author of Mind of the Raven. So if you want a more in depth book, then pick that one up. "Crows" is a fun book to pick up when you have a couple of minutes here and there.
Apr 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, animals
The studies described in Crows shed light on crows' intelligence and the complexity of their social networks. They are among the few animals in the world who can make as well as use tools, and they have an uncanny ability to recognize and remember individual humans, particularly those who have wronged them. Interspersed among the results of the studies and the amusing anecdotal data are pictures, poems and myths from various times and cultures about these fascinating birds.
Aug 14, 2009 rated it liked it
I checked this book out of the library because I had read an article about how crows can distinguish one human being from another (interesting, because we can't tell crows apart). This book is fun to skim through; I didn't read all the details, but enjoyed how it was put together. Lots about the importance of the crow or raven in various cultures. Also interesting is the section on crows' use of tools. Crows are lots smarter than I ever gave them credit for being.
Erin Malone
May 19, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm fascinated by crows and was happy to find this book on my library shelves. It gives a good overview of the evolving science concerning crows--their family structures, their use of tools--and also reminds us of the crow figure in legend and literature and art. This book inspires me to find more information about them.
A short grab-bag of crow related trivia, pop-science and nature-writing. The short pieces on mythology were probably the most interesting. I don’t think it helped that it covers a lot of the same ground for me as my own general reading in ornithology – the already heavily popularised bits on corvid caching behaviour and tool-making in particular.
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a great little book about a creature that is both loved and reviled around the world and throughout history. If you want to know more about crows (and ravens) but don’t want an in-depth scientific text, this is a great introduction. A quick and enjoyable read, the book is full of anecdotes, myths and illustrations from around the world.
Christine S.r.
Aug 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Cute book, but a little light. (I got through it in a sitting, as it's mostly pictures, descriptions of scientific findings about crows, and summaries of different myths/stories about crows.) I didn't really learn anything new, but liked the affectionate descriptions of crows. Nice art as well: woodcuts, old paintings, etc.
Stephen Palmer
Oct 11, 2016 added it
Shelves: science
In this short work, various elements of science, observation, folklore and legend are woven together into a very enjoyable tapestry. The science is light, the observation is fascinating, and the folklore suggests kernels of truth about these fascinating and highly intelligent birds. Photographs, drawings and works of art illustrate the work. All in all, an enjoyable book.
Oct 14, 2012 rated it liked it
This was an improvement on her previous book about corvids, Bird Brains, but not too much. More quotes and examples from actual researchers, but the folklore and mythology and other ephemera was used as filler. Also, it wasn't only about crows but ravens as well.
Heather Larcombe
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Short overview of the fun world of corvids. Although it mentions and suggests several studies and research projects, it doesn't go into any details. Just a quick review interspersed with poems, folktales, and art to spark interest. Very nice.
Ashleigh Mattern
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Our neighbourhood crows came home today, which made me think of this great book by Candace Savage -- all about crows! I hadn't paid much attention to the crows in my backyard before I read this book, but now I watch their every move with interest. Crows are fascinating!
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“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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