Crows Can Grieve Too

As I have previously mentioned in my blogs, crows are highly intelligent and social birds.  They are complex sentient beings which extends to their response to death within their communities.

When a member of a crow community dies, whether it be due to natural causes, predation, or accidents, other crows often gather around the deceased individual. These ‘crow funerals’ can be indicated by a variety of behaviours that would suggest mourning and an acknowledgment of their loss. Grieving crows may remain near the deceased bird, often perching nearby or flying overhead, as if keeping watch over the body.

Research would also suggest that crows exhibit differing calls from their usual calls. These calls can include soft cooing sounds or even calls that resemble mourning cries believed to serve as a form of communication among the group.

Another fascinating behaviour observed in grieving crows is the touching or pecking of the deceased crow. Crows may gently touch or peck at the body as if to confirm the reality of the loss or to assess the condition of their fallen friend. This demonstrates a level of curiosity and perhaps a desire to understand what has happened.

Furthermore, researchers have documented instances of crows bringing objects or offerings to the deceased bird. These offerings can range from feathers and twigs to food items such as berries or insects. While the exact motivation behind this remains unclear, it may serve as a form of tribute or a gesture honouring the deceased bird.

Overall, grieving exhibited by crows highlights the complex social and emotional lives of these remarkable birds. Through vigilance, calls, physical interactions, and offerings, crows demonstrate a capacity for empathy, mourning, and communal support within their communities navigating the complexities of death and loss.

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I haven’t personally witnessed how crows grieve for the loss of their loved ones.  Have you?

Night night, don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Rodney Grocock Author