Optics Mag is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Read more.

Do Crows Remember Faces? Why You Should Never Cross a Crow!

Last Updated on

crow bird perching on wooden chair

Crows are extremely smart animals that seem to understand the world in a way that we do not. Younger crows sometimes help their older parents care for newborns. They have developed and maintained regional dialects. They even have “funerals” for their dead. However, did you know that crows can remember human faces? It’s true!

Crows have the uncanny ability to recognize and remember the faces of the people they come across, whether in town or on a hiking trail in the woods. Let’s explore more about this interesting crow trait.

binoculars divider

What Impact Does Facial Recognition Have?

Facial recognition enables crows to remember humans that they come across, especially when they have interactions with those people. If you happen to feed a crow in a park, chances are that they will recognize you next time that you visit the park and will come up to ask for more food. If you shoo the crow away, chances are that the crow will not want to come near you next time that they see you.

Therefore, the ability of crows to recognize a human’s face impacts how these birds interact with us as a whole. Crows know more about what is happening around them than we tend to give them credit for. Their actions are often related to the actions that they have observed from us. Therefore, interactions are intentional and derived from past experiences with us humans.

Image Credit: Mabel Amber, Pixabay

Do Crows Hold Grudges Against Humans?

Researchers have found that the brain of a crow lights up when they see faces that they recognize. Crows have also shown that they react to what they think of as bad actors based on past experiences. People who try to capture a crow or harm them in any way essentially become an enemy of the bird. Furthermore, crows tend to share information about what they perceive to be dangerous humans with other crows, especially family members. It is thought that crows do this to adapt to living among humans as time goes on.

Image Credit: Esteban Sanchez, Shutterstock

How Do Crows React to Humans Whom They Think Are Dangerous?

Crows do react to people whom they perceive as threats. Depending on the situation, a crow might just avoid the person in question. However, more often than not, a crow will reprimand the person by cawing at them, diving toward them, and even flying into them as a form of punishment. This is especially true of crows that have been trapped or hurt by a human. If they ever see the human who gave them pain or made them afraid again, they are not likely to be nice.

Image Credit: Piqsels

binoculars 3 divider


Crows are intelligent creatures that deserve respect and consideration just like any other living being. Treating crows with kindness whenever we see them is a great way to make sure that we do not get on their bad side and to avoid the risk of being “gossiped” about by the whole crow flock. On the other hand, being too friendly to a crow may result in them pestering you whenever you see that crow outside, as they will want you to continue feeding them. The best idea is to leave crows alone and be respectful when they are around. Never feed a crow your food unless you are willing to do an encore the next time that you eat outside.

Featured Image Credit: Piotr Velixar, Shutterstock

About the Author Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Since 2000, Rachael has been a freelance writer, and has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She is an artist at heart and loves to read, paint, and make jewelry in her spare time. Rachael is obsessed with helping animals in need both in her community and anywhere in the world where she feels she can make a difference. She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens, so it's no surprise that animals happen to be her favorite topic to write about!