Links From the Show

Taking Over the World, One Crow at a Time

Today on the show we're talking to Josh Klein, who figured out a way to train crows to bring him coins they find on the ground in exchange for peanuts. He hopes to get them to do other things too, like picking up trash instead of coins.

Follow this link for a video in which Josh explains how the device works. And here he is making a one-minute presentation at Gadgetoff 2007:

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Great story! I know firsthand the intelligence of crows. When I was in India visiting family I made the mistake of tossing nuts at a crow to get it to stop bothering our family dog. Mind you I wasn't trying to hit the crow, just scare it off. Much to my surprise, a few minutes later I was soundly hit in the back of the head. I spun around to see a crow (presumably the same one) flying off. Refusing to believe that the crow had actually hit me, I continued playing with our dog, and minutes later was hit again. This time I saw the crow flying off again, decided that it had attacked me, and chose to stay inside for the rest of the day. Luckily that was the extent of my experience (I wasn't stalked for weeks/months/years like those university students). Now the questions is, how can we get crows to use their powers for good instead of "evil"? Great article.

Sent by Smitha Raghunathan | 2:05 PM | 3-4-2008

when i was young, i recall crows being much smaller...now i'm older and they seem to have really grown...perhaps the beak shall inherit the earth! good story and likely to have wings...

Sent by jayn | 8:05 PM | 3-4-2008

thanks for the comment. im a 49year old man. when i was aboutn 15 i was walking behind my house through a grassy field through a bunch of crows.all flew but one i chaced it up to the back my house ,then it talked to me ....it said my name is fred and its 4oclock... believe me or not.

Sent by frankellet | 6:31 PM | 3-5-2008

A long time ago someone realized this about humans also - "Look, they'll work for peanuts!" Thanks for the great story.

Sent by Brian | 8:53 PM | 3-5-2008

Interesting. So We teach them and they teach their young to pick up money. I can just picture someone coming out of store and dropping their change and trying to pick up ,only to be attacked by flocks of birds fighting over coins to go buy peanuts, Memories of Hitchcock's Birds flood my thoughts. Who is going to clean up all the peanut shells?

Sent by Jo | 9:42 AM | 3-8-2008

I have been watching the daily flight pattern taken by crows in the morning and evening when I lived in Manchester, NH and now in Tampa, Fl. The flocks are huge and I love to watch them join me as I travel from Tampa to St. Pete during commuter travel. Thinking about where they are flying or what they will do just takes the monitony out of driving. Just wish I could fly with them! :)

Sent by Pat | 6:20 PM | 3-8-2008