Out in the Kentucky countryside, my Aunt and Uncle used to have a crow named Jeckle that spent summers on their property. He’d come and go with the season, was smart enough to do tricks, friendly enough to pet, and, with a cocking of his head, seemed to understand language.
Photographer Masahisa Fukase spent 10 years capturing images of these highly evolved creatures in the Japanese countryside, often from a train. His images are stark and impressionistic, almost completely focused on emotion rather than the birds themselves. Several of these gelatin prints are currently on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as part of their Birds in the Art of Japan exhibit.
Like Fukase (and my Aunt and Uncle), behavioral ecologists also study crows. These intriguing birds mate for life, can survive nearly 20 years in the wild, collaborate in extended family groups to rear their young, and use tools. Crows are studied almost as much as primates for clues into evolutionary social behavior.