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Q:

Do crows collect shiny objects?

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No. Wild crows do not like, nor collect shiny objects. They do not hide, store, or cache anything but food. I believe that all stories of crows and magpies taking shiny objects come from people's experiences with captive, hand-raised young birds. Young corvids are very investigative, and love to handle objects. They like to pick them up, peck at them, and then hide them. Most corvid species hide food for later retrieval (some, like the nutcrackers in the genus Nucifraga, are extreme, hiding and remembering thousands and thousands of seeds). Juvenile birds "play" with inedible objects, picking them up, pecking them, and eventually hiding them. (Play is just doing appropriate actions with inappropriate objects, just like children playing house.) In the wild, they would play with sticks, stones, acorn caps, and things like that. In captivity, they will do the same thing to just about anything small and portable, and they may be attracted to shiny things, like keys, coins, or the like. ... more
birds.cornell.edu
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