HBM038: Do Crows Mourn Their Dead?

Hosted by

Crows have really strange habits around death. When a bird dies, crows gather, squawking loudly and gathering as many other birds as they can find to come and look at the dead body.

Much of what we know about crow funerals comes from the work of John Marzluff a biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. He and Kaeli Swift (one of his grad students) are trying to get to the bottom of these strange phenomena using taxidermy crows and masks and Cheetos and raw peanuts.

On this episode of Here Be Monsters, We look at the strange behaviors of crows and how they might be able to teach humanity about the origins of funerals and emotions.

We have a great photo album from the show up over at HBMpodcast.com. Check it out.

This episode was produced by Jeff Emtman.

Many thanks to David Kestenbaum of NPR's Planet Money for his help on a short version of this piece made for radio...keep your ears peeled. Listen to Planet Money here: www.npr.org/blogs/money/

Many thanks to Brian Emtman for tipping us off to this story.

Some of the crow sounds in this episode came from Cornell's Macaullay Library. Citation: macaulaylibrary.org/audio/45291

Other sounds came from the users of Freesound.

Creative Commons Attributions:

LukeIRL: freesound.org/people/LukeIRL/sounds/176128/

RTB45: freesound.org/people/RTB45/sounds/149186/

renatofarabeuf: freesound.org/people/renatofarabeuf/sounds/242122/

klankbeeld: freesound.org/people/klankbeeld/sound/208165/

Music from

Flower Petal Downpour: @flower-petal-downpour

Serocell: unclassedmedia.com/

The Black Spot: theblackspot.bandcamp.com/


Kaeli Swift - Crow Researcher - @kswift_crow, John Marzluff - School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Jeff Emtman

Jeff Emtman