While we're not in the habit of deliberately upsetting crows, we're also not too worried about their feelings. If they're heading towards our lunch, maintaining a full meal is our priority.
A new study has shown that we should probably rethink our behaviour. Not only should we give them the majority of our sandwich but we should also strike up a friendly, non-confrontational conversation about how amazing crows are.
Apparently, a crow can remember the faces of humans they take a dislike to and brand as dangerous and will harbour a grudge for the rest of their life. The report, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B (waaaay better than A), also reveals that the angered crow will also tell his mates who may return to help do you in.
The study exposed wild crows to a "dangerous face" by wearing a unique mask as they trapped, banded and released birds at different sites. The released birds then scolded the mask-wearer and called for their other crows to join in. The mask was then used in other areas and experienced grief from crows that hadn't been captured.
After 1 year, around 30% of crows encountered by people wearing the mask scolded consistently while that figure went up to 66% almost 3 years later. This. Is. Worrying.
Crows have always aced avian IQ tests, so this sort of behaviour isn't a huge surprise. It's just a welcome reminder that using them as a scapegoat (Hitchcock, step forward) isn't going to do us any favours.
We look forward to a SyFy Channel movie entitled Crowpocalypse sharpish.
(Image: Rex Features)