Monday, January 02, 2017

About crows

Apropos of the crows (pole) that appear in Saturn, Paradiso. 21: 34-39:

In Ancient Greece and Rome, several myths about crows and jackdaws included:

  • An ancient Greek and Roman adage, told by Erasmus runs, "The swans will sing when the jackdaws are silent," meaning that educated or wise people will speak after the foolish become quiet.
  • The Roman poet Ovid saw the crow as a harbinger of rain (Amores 2,6, 34).
  • Pliny noted how the Thessalians, Illyrians, and Lemnians cherished jackdaws for destroying grasshoppers' eggs. The Veneti are fabled to have bribed the jackdaws to spare their crops.
  • Ancient Greek authors tell how a jackdaw, being a social creature, may be caught with a dish of oil into which it falls while looking at its own reflection.
  • In Greek legend, princess Arne was bribed with gold by King Minos of Crete and was punished for her avarice by being transformed into an equally avaricious jackdaw, which still seeks shiny things. (Wikipedia)

Crows have been congregating in large roosts in the fall and winter for as long as there have been crows. Crow roosts can range from small scattered roosts of under one hundred individuals to the spectacularly large roosts of hundreds of thousands, or even more than a million crows! A roost in Fort Cobb, Oklahoma was estimated to hold over two million crows. (source)

Peace and harmony aren't major crow traits. Crows may fight other crows to defend territory or some other resource, or they may be protecting a mate. Family conflicts are typically short-lived and limited to a few pecks. Fights between different families can be long and potentially lethal. (source)

The intelligence of the corvid family—a group of birds that includes crows, ravens, magpies, rooks and jackdaws—rivals that of apes and dolphins. Recent studies are revealing impressive details about crows' social reasoning, offering hints about how our own interpersonal intelligence may have evolved. (SA)

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