Bothell Crows

We learned to be patient observers like the owl. We learned cleverness from the crow, and courage from the jay, who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it off its territory. But above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit. ~ Tom Brown, Jr.


Shortly after moving to Bothell, WA, we saw the world-famous murder of the Bothell crows.

From fall to late spring, more than 10,000 crows call the UW Bothell campus home.

While no one on the UW Bothell campus at dusk could miss the swooping, perching, and cawing of the crows overhead, many do not realize how intelligent and interesting these animals actually are. In many ways, “crows are very similar to humans,” says Professor John Marzluff, from the University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. ~ Crows on Campus

It is an amazing thing to watch and hear. Here are videos:

There is even a Facebook page for this phenomenon:

imageThe flock of crows that descends on Bothell every evening is a striking site. The more than 10,000 crows in the group, or murder, come from as far as downtown Seattle and Sultan and Gold Bar to spend the night roosting in the safe deciduous vegetation of the University of Washington Bothell campus.

Crows behave like humans in many ways, said John Marzluff, a UW professor who has studied crows and similar birds like magpies and ravens for most of his career.

“They’re very smart animals and very successful,” Marzluff said. “They are, just like us, trying to survive in this environment.”

Some crows eat fast food, scavenging from the garbage bins of KFC. Crows also smoke and drink, Marzluff said — they drink coffee, beer, wine and soda, and they pick up cigarettes, although they don’t actually smoke them. When it’s sunny, crows sunbathe. ~ Crows see food and shelter

At our bird feeders in the backyard we see Stellar Jays, hummingbirds, grosbeaks, red-wing black birds, etc. Rarely do we see a lot of crows although we have some regulars. Along with our squirrels (Fred and Ginger), there is always a lot happening back there. But I couldn’t image what we would do if 10,000 crows stopped for a visit!


About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Seattle Solid GOLD Big Band (formerly the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra) a GOLD sax quartet, and enjoy time with family and friends.
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4 Responses to Bothell Crows

  1. Walt says:

    A visit? Breath deep, turn up the TV and live them out. Permanent? MOVE.

  2. Tina Toburen says:

    Be sure to be kind around crows… they have some sort of group memory… and they like getting revenge (although I’m sure they’d call it justice). 🙂

  3. Gandalfe says:

    Tina, I often think that about any creature. Or we could just call it karma.

  4. AOH says:

    Crows are very advanced, in the winter they get back with their extended family in larger groups and they fly to these festivals during the month of February. They fly in small packs and they stop along the way at rest-stations where they wait for stragglers to join their group.
    Crows have some of the kinds of culture that we humans have lost. This is a big thing like the superbowl and woodstock to them but instead of watching it on TV they get outside and go to the live event. Only major football games even come close, but this is bigger than for crows.

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