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You’ve Heard of a Murder of Crows. How About a Crow Funeral? | Deep Look


Big news! You can now support Deep Look on Patreon. More after the show. A verdant park, an idyllic day. But something has gone terribly wrong. A passerby discovers it first — and lets
out a piercing call. Within seconds, everyone in earshot rushes
to the scene. It’s mayhem… or so it seems. Crows are intelligent, and super chatty They watch out for one another within tight-knit
groups. As adults it’s pretty rare for crows to
be killed. So when one dies the others notice. Are they just scared? Or is something deeper going on. Kaeli Swift, a Ph.D. candidate at the University
of Washington, set up an experiment to find out. She visits a park in Seattle for a few days,
leaving piles of peanuts for the crows. Then one day… Swift shows up looking very different. Wearing a mask and a wig, she carries a dead
taxidermied crow The first one that sees her sounds the alarm. The flock erupts in protest. The crows seem to wail and scold her and the
dead bird. Swift calls these crow funerals, though they’re
not the solemn memorials we put on for our dead. She thinks these noisy gatherings are opportunities
for crows to learn about the dangers that surround them, within the safety of the group. When an unmasked Swift returns to the park
the next week with more tasty peanuts, the crows are quiet and wary. They seem to have learned there’s something
hazardous about this place. Still, they eat the peanuts. But they take longer to approach and seem
to be much more suspicious. And when Swift returns wearing the mask? They lose it. Even without the dead crow, they still see
her as a threat. Compare that to these pigeons. They barely seem to register her holding their
deceased comrade. That’s how most creatures react. Just a few, like dolphins, elephants and crows
react strongly to seeing one of their own who’s died. Even weeks later the crows cause a ruckus
when they see the mask. Some never even saw her with the dead crow
but they still learned to associate her with danger. It’s called social learning — gaining new
information by observing and imitating others. We’re always looking to learn from one another
too… to avoid the mistakes that lead others to meet their untimely end. Hey there. We love making Deep Look, and if you love
it too, guess what – Deep Look is on Patreon! Patreon lets you support us each month, so
we can do more and better stuff for you. Like chats with producers and scientists,
and extra episodes in faraway lands. You’ll be invited to our members-only community,
where you can give us your story ideas and get Deep Look schwag. So click on the Patreon link here or in the
description to sign up. See you there!

Otis Rodgers

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100 COMMENTS

  1. Kaeli Swift Posted on May 18, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    Hi folks! I'm the scientist behind this research. I'm seeing a few questions come up repeatedly so let me take a minute to address them. 1) Yikes, why are the masks so creepy?! These masks were made in service to the original facial recognition study that took place a little over a decade ago at the UW. You can learn more about that study in the PBS 'Murder of Crows' special which is free to stream. When asking that original question of "do crows recognize threatening people" it was important that the masks were expressionless, since a happy or angry looking face might influence how they would respond (we now know it actually doesn't). It's very hard to find human-like expressionless masks though, so we had costume makers come in and take molds of volunteers' faces. What you're left with is something that basically looks like you cut someone's face off and are wearing it Silence of the Lambs style, which is kinda the point, but admittedly also very creepy to people! 2) Why did you need to wear masks at all? During the actual study I wasn't a mask wearer, I just recorded data. It was a volunteer that would don the mask and hold the crow, or return a week later wearing the familiar mask. But volunteers are fickle and I couldn't be guaranteed that the person available to help during the "funeral" presentation could come back the following week. By having people wear the masks though, it didn't matter who was helping me, I could keep the face the same. And based on the previous facial recognition study I knew that's really all that mattered. 3) How did we know they weren't just freaking out because the masks are creepy? I ran controls to verify this. Linda is one of ten different masks so it was easy to verify that wasn't what was going on. If you want to learn all the details of this study you can read it for free on my blog (corvidreseach . blog) You can also find me on twitter @ corvidresearch where I am always available to answer all your corvid questions. I also play a fun ID game on Wednesdays called #CrowOrNo. I'm glad so many of you enjoyed the video and I hope you look out for my new studies!

    Reply
  2. John Bentley Posted on July 21, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    Crows remind me of the orange monster, very smart, totally obnoxious, & completely ruthless

    Reply
  3. TRUTHXTROLL KEKISTANIXSOLDIER Posted on July 21, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Press R for Respek

    Reply
  4. Marita Barber Posted on July 22, 2019 at 1:02 am

    This is why love crows ♥️

    Reply
  5. Fatih Kan Posted on July 22, 2019 at 2:00 am

    We have learned how to mourn from crows.

    Reply
  6. Rfpenab Posted on July 22, 2019 at 3:21 am

    This is amazing

    Reply
  7. Luis Medrano Posted on July 22, 2019 at 4:09 am

    They do tht noise all the time…………. ND they just saw a person period no mask.

    Reply
  8. Bobby Fett Posted on July 22, 2019 at 4:12 am

    I love the vids. Please keep it up

    Reply
  9. Damage Posted on July 22, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Twist is she actually killed someone and is wearing their face..

    Reply
  10. Chrissie Julien Posted on July 22, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Texas chainsaw massacre mask lol

    Reply
  11. Himanshu Sharma Posted on July 23, 2019 at 6:23 am

    What a creepy mask if a human see you in this mask they do the same

    Reply
  12. Tony Nameless Posted on July 23, 2019 at 8:07 am

    peanuts ha ?
    Now i know how to get them on the ground.
    Next is to learn how to hide my rifle when i shoot them one by one.

    Reply
  13. Swapnil Nihal Posted on July 23, 2019 at 9:55 am

    @3:40 social learning

    Reply
  14. Salahaddin Posted on July 23, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Who said islam is wrong
    The holy koran talks about this 14 hundred years ago and yet people dont understand
    I am not even joking this crow funeral was mentioned 1400years ago so as a muslim this is very old to me

    Reply
  15. Mohammed Hijazi Posted on July 23, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    [Quran 5:31] Then Allah sent a crow digging the ground, to show him how to cover his brother's corpse. He said, "Woe to me! I was unable to be like this crow, and bury my brother's corpse." So he became full of regrets

    Reply
  16. Sarah E Posted on July 23, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    I read this curious finding about a raven in Alaska (I think it was Alaska) that would play dead by falling onto its back with it's legs up everytime one of it's own kind neared a carcass the raven had found. Ravens were a nuisance in the area and people had been poisoning carcasses to help kill off the birds. So the birds had learned to associate a dead raven by a carcass as food to stay away from. So one clever raven took advantage of that by pretending to be dead each time so it didnt have to compete over the food.

    Reply
  17. واحد من الزرقا Posted on July 23, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    Feed crows in park for PhD! ARE U KIDDING ME!! I HAD TO CLEAN FUNNELS!!!

    Reply
  18. Mr Penguin Posted on July 23, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    The masked killer has become a figure of death in the crow community.

    Reply
  19. Chocolate Sugar-Lovage Posted on July 23, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    Yeah, they're smart alright! 😄

    And if you're not careful, they'll come for you later tonight 😈

    Reply
  20. Marquis Johnson Posted on July 24, 2019 at 4:44 am

    Crows are the detectives of the bird world

    Reply
  21. Damage Posted on July 24, 2019 at 6:15 am

    Like a female michael myers

    Reply
  22. NN LL Posted on July 24, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Wouldnt be suprised if the people at the park started to Caw at her wearing the mask

    Reply
  23. kai Posted on July 24, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    They can solve a murder scene… SOMEONE HIRE THEM

    Reply
  24. Row Deo Posted on July 24, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Seattle has been studying these majestic wonderful birds. I wish I could entice them to my backyard but no luck.

    Reply
  25. Jade Posted on July 24, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Did it really have to be that mask though?….out of all the masks in the WHOLE world?!

    Reply
  26. Wothanar Posted on July 24, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Even crows are better at socializing than me…

    Reply
  27. Rachel Merricks Posted on July 25, 2019 at 2:52 am

    crows are beautiful

    Reply
  28. any one of us Posted on July 25, 2019 at 4:11 am

    One I saw a murder of crows trying to kill a crow, makes you wonder……

    Reply
  29. alejandra alma Posted on July 25, 2019 at 4:22 am

    Wow!! Interesting!!

    Reply
  30. Dylan Posted on July 25, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    "So what do you do for work?"
    "Oh, right now I'm ritualistically terrifying an entire community of crows."

    Reply
  31. TheGiveaway YT Posted on July 26, 2019 at 12:12 am

    I haven’t heard of murder of crows neither a crow funeral

    Reply
  32. Naseem Khan Posted on July 26, 2019 at 1:38 am

    They have to be communicating and recognizing at the same time. They are smart for sure and I really believe they communicate through telepathy,.

    Reply
  33. Tarot Reader Delhi Posted on July 26, 2019 at 2:26 am

    Crows love eating cheese and fried food, basically anything oily and juicy and protein. They are cool birds to have as friends.

    Reply
  34. Serdar Joshua Posted on July 26, 2019 at 3:13 am

    3:05 "deceased comrade"

    Reply
  35. Mohammed Farooq Posted on July 26, 2019 at 3:46 am

    My younger brother once saved a crow from a group of other crows attacking it. The crow was saved somehow and it flew away. However the group of crow got angry at my brother and started chasing my brother. Till date these crows trouble my brother especially a couple of crow from the group. They will fly over his head and used their talons to scrape his head. Whenever my brother goes out they somehow keep a track and start cawing informing others. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT BEHAVIOR???

    Reply
  36. mike young Posted on July 26, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    True folks, if you want to shoot a few crows . Build a good hide/blind , lay out a dead crow . Do not immediately pick up the ones that you have shoot . They will attract more crows

    Reply
  37. Hans Bryne Posted on July 26, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    oh come on , it's 3 am!

    Reply
  38. David Duarte Posted on July 26, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    No, I don't think humans are that smart. We don't learn from others like the crows. We see another human making a mistake, and we do the same mistake. And worst of all, we do the same mistake over and over. Jajajaja

    Reply
  39. Gavigg75 Posted on July 26, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    Baboons do this also

    Reply
  40. Mike McKinley Posted on July 26, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    Clarice "Starling"

    Reply
  41. MJW Posted on July 27, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Kaeli sure is good looking, without the mask of course.

    Reply
  42. TheBlackJacksItalia Posted on July 27, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    I made the terrible mistake of watching this at 1AM in total darkness with my back to the door.

    Reply
  43. Tsuna mix Posted on July 28, 2019 at 6:13 am

    Very nice analysis. Reminds me the story of Habil and Qabil, sons of Adam. The crows taught humanity about funerals.

    Reply
  44. William Schutz Posted on July 28, 2019 at 11:29 am

    Horses also react to other dead horses.

    Reply
  45. QRS3C273 Posted on July 28, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    I lost it too 😂😂😂😂

    Reply
  46. Vimorain Posted on July 28, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    Crows were like : " Female Michael Myers coming ! "

    Reply
  47. TheVoidIsShining Posted on July 28, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Those masks are disturbing

    Reply
  48. Las Vegas Boxing Channel Posted on July 29, 2019 at 4:09 am

    They are all praying in mass asking the Lord for protection.

    Reply
  49. Kaytlin Justis Posted on July 29, 2019 at 7:23 am

    Crows and ravens are some of the most intelligent birds out there! It was a good thing she wore the mask, because they recognize the faces of those who will help or harm them! Such gorgeous, intelligent creatures! ^^

    Reply
  50. DienstagHD Posted on July 29, 2019 at 8:21 am

    No one
    Absolute no one
    Not a single corpse
    Crows: KRAH

    Reply
  51. Veteran decanus Posted on July 29, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Crows when they see a lady with a creepy mask and dead relative: *CAW CAW AW!!!!!!"
    aslo people: *kids screaming, parents getting freaked out, people calling 911*.

    Reply
  52. Winged Coco Posted on July 30, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Imagine them being big as raptors.

    Reply
  53. Chris Bautista Posted on July 30, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    I saw a bunch of pigeons eating away at a dead pigeon

    Reply
  54. Mighty Gameplay Posted on July 30, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    1.4million people now have bad luck,as of now

    Reply
  55. Black Monster Posted on July 30, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    I know that this will get buried (hehe) under all the comments, but No Mourners, No Funerals.

    Reply
  56. Victor Ferrera Posted on July 31, 2019 at 2:28 am

    i've seen it happened……

    Reply
  57. Maroon Fox Posted on July 31, 2019 at 2:50 am

    That mask is freaking creepy.

    Reply
  58. Saad Thesad Posted on July 31, 2019 at 5:25 am

    She have all the talent to work in a horror 🤔

    Reply
  59. ʀᴀᴠᴇɴ Posted on July 31, 2019 at 10:27 am

    rest in ☮️ my friend raven 💔

    Reply
  60. TheButchersApron Posted on July 31, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    @ 2:26 she is so beautiful.

    Reply
  61. Daniel Banda Santoyo Posted on August 1, 2019 at 9:00 am

    The More evolved, the easier it Is and More are the ways you can associate stimuli, therefore react in a More adaptive manner. I apologize for my possible grammatical errors btw. There are tons of experiments were pigeons can end UP reacting towards stimuli That get paired with another kind of stimulation, and adapt to new conditions. But my Guess its That it's way easier with crows.
    Social learning, while based on bandura's theory which considered conditioning a secondary factor to… Was it "vicarious learning"?… It's Still strongly based on functional análisis, other organism's behavior can be a conditioned stimuli after All. There Is also the social reinforcement members of the same community might get by behaving the same way as the others.
    Fascinating animals.

    Reply
  62. Toasty Toast Posted on August 1, 2019 at 9:58 am

    I love crows so much. They are so smart and they come in a lovely black color

    Reply
  63. Hamid raza Raza Posted on August 1, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    Once I saw a dead crow I got a little close then all the crow started attacking me this happen for months

    Reply
  64. Amazing Gengar Lol Posted on August 1, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Ahh those kind of crows
    I've seen a murder crow kill a uhh another bird but yeah

    Reply
  65. Rick Jones Posted on August 2, 2019 at 3:48 am

    Very cool. Very interesting. I love learning new things. I'm 47 and I try to learn something everyday. I read a lot and I never use a calculator to do math. Keeps the brain Sharp

    Reply
  66. Jerome Lund Posted on August 3, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Fun fact:
    A group of baboons is a Congress.

    Reply
  67. Syko Rose Posted on August 3, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Lol cant they smell you. Does having different people wearing the same mask really make a difference if by smell they could tell you apart?

    Reply
  68. YANZY DEMECILLO Posted on August 4, 2019 at 8:27 am

    Wait Jason's wife is a crow killer OMG… I have to informed bruce wayne about this…

    Reply
  69. father of yousef Posted on August 4, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Crows teach humans how to burying dead

    Reply
  70. xclimatexcoldxx Posted on August 5, 2019 at 4:13 am

    ITACHI!!!!!!

    Reply
  71. Juls Viray Posted on August 5, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Itatchi uchiha!

    Reply
  72. Potato Girl Posted on August 5, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Person with peanut allergy:
    *has picnic in park where peanuts fell*
    … :°🍉 :]

    *falls with face on grass while crouching*
    😂

    *gets up, walks away after packing up*
    ~One hour later~
    … :/ :{
    *throws up*
    *has puffy face*
    ~5 minutes later~
    *dies*

    Reply
  73. Nataša Luković Posted on August 5, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    Crows are so cute and smart! 🦃🐔🐓🐣🐥🐤🐦🐧🕊️🦅🦆🦢🦉

    Reply
  74. John Castillo Posted on August 6, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Ngl crows are cute

    Reply
  75. Jesse J Posted on August 7, 2019 at 7:47 am

    That's so discriminatory and stereotyping and profiling you're not supposed to do that. So now all people that look like that the crows need to not like that's so racist reminds me of the cops nowadays that hate black people and try to kill them

    Reply
  76. F'lye Fighter Posted on August 7, 2019 at 10:03 am

    I'm pretty sure they knew that was her even when she came back with the peanuts. They looked sad really. I'm pretty sure that mask is the equivalent of putting a hat on to get a 2nd free sample.

    Reply
  77. lowpolygamer Posted on August 7, 2019 at 10:31 am

    2:48 Halloween: The Never-ending series

    Reply
  78. Dez ghidrah balderas Posted on August 7, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    They should've pecked swiff

    Reply
  79. Dre Reid Posted on August 7, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    That mask she's wearing has her looking like Jason's mama.

    Reply
  80. Javed Iqbal Posted on August 7, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Crow Buried a dead crow, Reference in Muslim Holly book Quran revealed roughly during 610 AD to 632 AD.
    Chapter 5 verse 31
    "Then Allah sent a crow digging ˹a grave˺ in the ground ˹for a dead crow˺, in order to show him how to bury the corpse of his brother. He cried, “Alas! Have I ˹even˺ failed to be like this crow and bury the corpse of my brother?” So he became regretful."
    It's about the one son of Adam (A.S) killed another and don't know what to do with the dead body of his brother.

    Reply
  81. Buata Red Devils Posted on August 8, 2019 at 2:10 am

    With the mask, you're Leatherface female version 😂

    Reply
  82. Noriel Sylvire Posted on August 8, 2019 at 5:29 am

    They're like "This guy can shoot fire through her mouth.
    I saw her flying we're not even safe while flying.
    The legend says she can transform into a giant cat." like they have a culture of fearing the masked woman.

    Reply
  83. BaMenace Posted on August 9, 2019 at 12:56 am

    "Mother is the name of God on the lips and hearts of little children"

    -The Crow.

    Reply
  84. Alea Gray Posted on August 9, 2019 at 9:19 am

    My dog killed a crow once, while I was trying to revive the crow we got attacked. We hat to escape and leave the dead body there. The crows followed me and my dog home. Everytime we went to the park they started screaming and trying to attack us everytime we were there. I know they can recognize faces so I assume they knew we were a threat.

    Reply
  85. ubiquity Posted on August 9, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    I think this PHD student is loosing her mind. Who thinks of wearing a mask straight outta Saw, to a park in broad daylight while carrying a fake dead Crow, for science??
    If you were trying to scare me, CONGRATULATIONS, you have. I'm outta here

    Reply
  86. 5,000 Subscribers Without any videos challenge Posted on August 10, 2019 at 7:16 am

    NOBODY:

    MEME FANS: LEMME SMASH

    Reply
  87. Cool Yang Posted on August 11, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Back when I was a kid a group of kids at a park took two baby crows from a tree and all the crow reacted like these crows too and some of them were flying in circles around the park. It was as if the crows were looking at them as if they did something wrong. I wasn’t even there when they took them but they make you feel guilty.

    Reply
  88. Dio Brando Posted on August 11, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    BY THE NINE DIVINES!! THERE'S A PSYCHOPATH ON THE LOOSE!

    Reply
  89. mr.E of Planet Earth Posted on August 11, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    For those crows: Michael Myers is real.

    Reply
  90. Fenix Minerva Posted on August 11, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    How to use a scarecrow properly.

    Reply
  91. goalee Posted on August 11, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    Didn't quite use to like crows. But seeing this woman almost torture them for her experiment made me feel sympathetic. And turns out they have feelings. They're not so bad I guess. Hehe

    Reply
  92. goalee Posted on August 11, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Is this masked woman was spotted beyond the wall, the night's watch would ring the bell more than thrice

    Reply
  93. Jaime Alcaraz Posted on August 12, 2019 at 9:10 am

    Scarecrows are good to secure gardens. For millions of crows, Leatherface can handle it.

    Reply
  94. serendipity Posted on August 12, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    The crows remember.

    Reply
  95. F4d3_ Posted on August 13, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    3:19 you forgot humans too , we also react to one of our dead species

    Reply
  96. Alberto Urias Posted on August 14, 2019 at 4:25 am

    I remember when i was a kid n i seen one on the ground he was really hurt so i was tryna help him i notice that they all start crowing around sundly the all flew in the air in circles started getting closer towards me so i ran the fastest i could off becuase they always told me that they like poking eyes out..love them tho..

    Reply
  97. Lady Wish Posted on August 14, 2019 at 5:46 am

    Me encanta esto

    Reply
  98. Cheria Posted on August 14, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Why does she have to use such a scary mask….

    Reply
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