I’ve always liked crows and ravens. They’re very intelligent and dedicated to their families. They also don’t mind interacting with people. I’ve read about crows and ravens bringing gifts to their people in exchange for tasty tidbits. Crows have their own culture. Celebrity crows, like those kept at the Tower of London, have their own fan base. And of course, there’s the raven of Poe’s Nevermore fame. However, I was particularly interested in the article by Stephen Johnson entitled How to Befriend Crows and Turn Them Against Your Enemies. This I had to read!
A Crow Army
The author was trying to get birds to imprint on him, making them think he is their mother. Konrad Lorenz is famous for his work on imprinting with birds, so Johnson’s work should have been straightforward. He decided that he wanted a murder of crows following him around “like a black cloud of menace.” He intended to use his crow army to destroy his enemies. Oooh, cool.
The crow behavior that enticed Johnson was the ability to recognize human faces. He intended to be the Master of Crows! You can’t keep crows as pets, but you can befriend them, becoming their companion as they live their own lives.
Johnson’s Guide to Training Crows
- First, attract the crows. Provide a safe, quiet place for the crows to live, such as your yard. Crows can be socialized with people.
- Make sure there are lots of bushes and trees, for hiding and plotting.
- Eliminate items that irritate crows, like dogs and cats, chimes, etc.
- Provide water for cleaning their food and themselves.
- Provide food. Crows are omnivores, so practically anything will work. Johnson selected meat scraps because he wanted bloodthirsty crows.
- Feed in an open area with something shiny around it.
- Stay away from the feeding area, just lurk from afar until they are used to you.
- Be patient
- Feed consistently
- Gradually introduce yourself
- Become associated with the food
- If the crows are pleased with your delectable offerings, they may show their gratitude by leaving shiny objects in gratitude.
- Realize the crows will become territorial and protective of you. This trait could be effectively used against the neighbors.
- However, Johnson wanted his crows to only attack his enemies, not just generally attack people who were not him.
- Crows have people they like and people they don’t, and they remember!
- Not only do they remember people they don’t like, they tell other crows, so more of them dislike the same people. Okay, that’s scary.
- So, Johnson decided to get a realistic mask of a mortal enemy. While wearing it, he would annoy the crows. And annoy them until they’d hate the face.
That was Johnson’s ultimate goal. Train the crows to attack the people he hated. The crows would glare, screech, and, sometimes, actually attack. It would go on for years and years. The number of attacking crows would continually increase. A truly terrifying weapon for revenge.
This is a brilliant plan. However, Johnson should be careful that his victims don’t learn about this crow training method. They just might train a murder of crows of their own!
Excuse me while I go have a chat with the local ravens (crow relatives). Then maybe I’ll work on a list of enemies. I wonder where I can have masks made…
While I don’t have any books on crows or ravens (yet), I do cover many other bird species in my wonderful science-based picture books. Give them a read sometime!