John Marzluff and Tony Angell

Unless you're a neuroscientist, it's the anecdotes of feathery misbehavior that are most enjoyable in Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans (Free Press, $25). This is the second corvid book from locals John Marzluff (the author and UW professor) and Tony Angell (the illustrator). Their first, 2005's In the Company of Crows and Ravens, clearly prompted a flood of odd crow stories from readers, which Marzluff now augments with CT scans, serotonin levels, neural mapping, and so forth. But here's what you remember (and wish were on YouTube): Up in the North Cascades, one bird systematically strips the rubber from windshield wipers on parked cars. In Montana during the '60s, a gifted mimic drove the dogs crazy by squawking "Here, boy! Here, boy!," drawing a pack of confused mutts. On Puget Sound, crows plan in advance by placing mussel shells to be cracked open by the cars driving off ferries. And everywhere crows are observed, they have a penchant for play—sledding on snow and sliding down rooftops, for instance. And yes, some of those videos are starting to show up on YouTube. BRIAN MILLER

Thu., June 7, 7:30 p.m., 2012

 
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