When a raven dies, its human companions gather together and perform a “funeral” ritual.
Many of us will surely wonder if birds can mourn the loss of our fellow human beings.
One day, a netizen named Emilie Bouef left a comment under the National Geographic post: “I heard crows having a funeral when one of their members dies. I want to know more about this phenomenon.”
As a result, when a crow dies, its fellow human beings gather around the body, screaming as if they are crying over the fate of leaving the world. This phenomenon is known as the “crowd”. However, in reality, the point of this is simply that crows want to know how dangerous their habitat is.
Speaking about this phenomenon, Kaeli Swift, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Washington, USA, said that getting close, focusing all attention on a fellow just lying down is The behavior common in birds of the crows family, including crows, magpie …, has a fairly high intelligence.
Early in the study of crows, Swift placed food in hundreds of areas in Washington State, United States, to attract crows to nest and breed. After that, his team attracted 25 volunteers. They will wear a mask and stand by the food pile for 30 minutes watching the crows.
Swift’s team used a stuffed crow pretending to be a dead crow for the experiment. The three scenes she gave include: A masked man holding the body of a crow in his hand, a person standing next to a perched hawk, and a man standing next to a perched hawk with crows. Masks are used in cases to hide the face of the participant because the volunteers are always involved, not a single person. At the same time, it is also to test the memory of the raven.
The Swift team got 96% of the same results. Specifically, when a crow detects an anomaly, it screams loudly and attracts 5-10 more congeners to nearby areas. They will gather around the crows for about 10-20 minutes, howling, then gradually everything falls silent before the animals leave one by one.
It is worth noting that 70% of crows refuse to come into contact with the body. This for Swift makes perfect sense as the dead crow can get sick or run the risk of killing the companion. That’s why the Swift team thinks the crows are doing their “funeral” to learn more about the dangerous threats in the area.
The crows are known to react most violently in the third scene when there is a human appearance and a hawk next to the crows. This shows that the context plays an important role, the crows are the most sensitive to the presence of their corpse companions and to the presence of “assailants”. Even 6 weeks later, 38% of the 65 pairs of crows who passed all 6 tests continued to react strongly to subjects they deemed dangerous.
Previous studies have shown that crows have a good memory of human faces. Swift said her team believed the human memory of the bird could last up to several years. In another study by Dr John Marzluff of the University of Washington, scientists wore masks to set traps in five different places. As a result, within five years, mask wearers who entered areas with enthusiastic crowds received a response from the loud screaming animals, signaling danger to their fellow human beings.
National Geographic, Dailymail, Audubon