Crows stacking bread on Wild Sunday June 8, 2008

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“I once saw a crow pick up a cherry life saver and dip it in water and then eat it,” Alan Anderson e-mailed last month.

This was the lead-in to a note he forwarded about a crow learning to stack bread.

It reminded me of a book I read as a teenager about crows and their languages, a book I wanted to give the oldest boy for summer reading.

Of course I googled and couldn’t find anything that sounds right. If somebody knows the book–keep in mind it would have been published more than 30 years ago–e-mail me at or post below.

Here’s the tale of the crow learning to stack bread.

Anderson is an avid birder from the near north suburbs who e-mails a lot of interesting things. Donna McCarty of Indianapolis posted this on the Indiana birders list on May 28.

I received a phone call on the Amos W. Butler Audubon information line from an individual who has observed some very interesting crow behavior in his Indianapolis backyard. I told him I would make a post and forward him any responses of others who have seen such behavior. He had been putting torn up slices of day-old bread in his backyard but then decide to just put out whole slices. When he did this, crows started coming in to feed on the bread carrying away the whole slices. However, one individual discovered that if it carefully placed one slice on top of another, it could carry off both in one trip! The homeowner then started putting out halved slices. The crow then would stack the bread three high and fly off with his prize.

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