Think Judge Judy is harsh? Wait until you experience crow court. Apparently, crows and ravens – also known as corvids, their family name – do not forget who wronged them, and they make their enemies pay the ultimate price. Welcome to crow court.
Crow justice is essentially this: if you're a bird who did one over on your fellow crow, you're about to learn your lesson the hard way. According to scientists, crows often kill other crows in what's colloquially called "crow court" (definitely not a scientific term). These spats come as a result of an intruder crow coming onto one crow's turf, or a member of the current crow crew deciding to go rogue and double cross his crowrades.
So next time you think about messing with that "dumb" crow that lives outside your house, think again. Crow court might not be binding, but it sure looks painful.
Look, there's no way for us to know exactly what this crow did to get booked into crow court. We can only assume it was something rude. And while most people might look at this video and say to themselves, "How do we even know this is crow court?" – let us stop you right there.
Scientists have definitively said both crows and ravens remember who double crossed them. And, what's even more interesting is they treat those birds who have been unfair to them differently than their friends. Enter crow court, where birds take justice into their own claws. Crows specifically will kill other crows who enter their territory and do not belong, or those who are trying to steal their food and attack their friends. Sometimes, these kills are mercy kills, though. Crows will put a sick crow out of its misery and kill it. Other times, they accidentally kill their friends while they're playing. Whoops!
Don't let their dopey bird behavior fool you, crows are extremely smart and resourceful. These birds can solve logic puzzles, have the ability to self-recognize themselves (something only a few animals other than humans can do), and use tools to aid them in tasks like eating. In general, corvids are all incredibly smart. They help each other out in stressfull situations and have been known to exhibit a mob mentality.
This is partly why they engage in crow court. When a corvid (specifically a crow) has been wronged, they get their friends together in a mob and retaliate. Truly, all of their abilities make them the smartest bird in the world.
While crows get a bad reputation for being jerks, they are also known as lovers. Scientists believe crows also remember people who have done right by them and repay these people with small tokens. Researchers have seen crows giving people shiny gifts as a token of their appreciation when they are fed. One little girl in Seattle, WA, found that after she started feeding crows in 2015, they started leaving gifts. The crows delivered her beads, small pieces of glass, fishing hooks, and earrings – all shiny objects. They would leave them in the feeder where she left their food.
Researchers believe the crows remembered who fed them and wanted to say thank you by giving her their favorite type of objects: shiny stuff.