Crows Recognize Human Faces: Study

Birds distinguished friendly and unfriendly masks, squawked at perceived foe
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2008 10:26 AM CDT
Crows Recognize Human Faces: Study
Crows can identify different human faces, a study found.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – If you ever offend a crow, don’t expect it to forgive and forget. University of Washington researchers found that the birds recognize human faces long after an encounter, the New York Times reports. Participants wore specific masks when they captured campus crows; after their release, the birds angrily scolded those in the “dangerous” masks, leaving people in other masks alone.

“It was clear they weren’t upset about something in general. They were upset with me,” said a mask-wearing volunteer. Why are the birds so aware of our faces? It might be linkedto  their ability to distinguish among each other, offering an evolutionary advantage, says one expert. It lets them “survive with us—and take advantage of us—in a much safer, more effective way.” (Read more Crows stories.)

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