A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

The Crow Who Goes Snowboarding

Can anyone doubt that this crow is simply having a great time in the snow with his/her “snowboard”?  

I asked Jonathan Balcombe, author of The Exultant Ark – a Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure, what he sees in this video. He replies:

This amateur video, shot from a high-rise window in Russia, speaks volumes about a crow’s inner life. That it is play is undeniable. And there’s much more: tool use, planning, the emotion of fun.

Few jar lids end up on roofs, so the hooded crow almost certainly carried it up there. One of the clips I watched included the crow flying away at the end, and s/he was also carrying the lid, so it seems a valued possession.

The pecking at the lid reminds me of our own efforts to get a sled to slide by jerking our bodies fore and aft. Several tracks in the snow indicate that the crow had taken a few rides before the camera was switched on.

Next time you look at a crow, remind yourself that there is someone inside that feathered body.

I’d only add that the crow is being more inventive than many of today’s kids whose moms and dads go out and buy all kinds of commercial gear for them. In the proverbial “old days” you found an old garbage lid and created your own entertainment. This crow, too, had to have found the lid, figured out that it would be fun to use as a snowboard and where it would work best, and then flown it up to the roof of a house before being able to start the game.

A real birdbrain!