You can run from a crow that you’ve wronged, but you can’t hide, as they remember human faces in the same way that mammals do.
According to John Marzluff of the University of Washington in Seattle, crows can distinguish human faces and remember how different people treated them, New Scientist reported.
To work out how the crows process this information, Marzluff had members of his team wear a latex mask as they captured 12 wild American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos), the report said. The crows learned to associate the captor’s mask while in captivity. They were fed and looked after by people wearing different masks, the report said.
After four weeks, the researchers imaged the birds’ brains while they were looking at either the captor or feeder mask. The brain patterns looked similar to those seen in mammals: the feeder sparked activity in areas involved in motivation and reward, whereas the captor stimulated regions associated with fear, the study said.
Kevin McGowan of Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York said that the result made sense. Crows don’t mind if humans are in their habitat, but they need to keep a close eye on what we do, the report added.