Crows playing in the snow in Russia are the subject of a cute video from You Tuber MeanwhileRussia that’s picking up steam. In the middle of a miserable-looking snowstorm, the happy birds are hiking or rolling to the snow-covered roof of a car and then rolling back down. When they mess up the sledding surface on that car, they move onto the next. Nope, there’s no socially redeeming value to this one, people. It’s just plain cute.
And it isn’t the first time that crows or ravens, known as corvids, have been reported to go climbing up in the snow only to slippy-slide back down. They’ve been observed playing the game on multiple occasions.
Now, it might be more efficient to just fly up the snow-covered vehicle or hillside, but where’s the fun in that? Anybody can fly, right? They have to impress their buddies with how well they hike and sled. From all appearances, the birds just love to play.
“Has Success Spoiled the Crow?” by David Quammen, an essay which appeared in his collection, Natural Acts: A Sidelong View of Nature and Science, had a playful take himself on the subject. Crows, he wrote, “are too bright for their own good. You know the pattern. Time on their hands. Under-employed and over-qualified. Large amounts of potential just lying fallow. Peck up a little corn, knock back a few grasshoppers, carry a beakful of dead rabbit home for the kids…An easy enough life, but is this it? Is this all?”
So the crows play and get into trouble, and it’s all for a laugh. Perhaps the ultimate prank was the one reported about the huge, almost raven-sized Jungle Crow of Japan. There have reportedly been cases on Kinkazan Island where these playful crows pick up deer droppings and helpfully wedge them into the local deer’s ears.
Now I don’t feel so bad about the trick that the common raven in the picture above once played on me. I was in a Canadian national park in the province of Alberta, where you are most definitely not supposed to feed the animals because of the bears. The bird waltzed right up to me, swore up and down that he was cute and harmless, and it wouldn’t be any problem and no one would ever known if I slipped him a stray peanut.
Just as I almost fell for it, I glanced down and saw a black bear hiding very close in a nearby ditch. Now, maybe it was just coincidence. Could be it was a matter of indifference to my raven friend if I got eaten by a bear once I handed over the food.
But, then again, maybe it was the playful bird’s idea of a joke. All I know is that I never jumped back in a car so fast.
And if that doesn’t make you chuckle, watch the video from MeanwhileRussia:
Have you ever been gamed by a crow playing tricks?
[photo common raven up to no good by Elaine Radford]