Are Crows Good or Bad Luck?
Cultural Myths & Superstitions

Are you trying to find out whether crows are good or bad luck? Keep reading to find out more about some common cultural myths and superstitions.

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Iñigo Navarro

July 18, 2021


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What’s This Post About?

As common as crows are, there are still some myths associated with them. People, for decades, have thought of them as bad luck. There are various cultural superstitions regarding crows and their role in our lives.

The stark jet-black plumage of crows and the high-pitched ‘caw’ sound causes many people to believe that crows bring bad luck; however, some ponder the intelligence of crows and believe they are just like any other bird.

Although there are several superstitions associated with these birds, there isn’t enough scientific evidence of them causing any bad or good luck. Crows have long been associated with bleakness and darkness with no substantial evidence.

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Are Crows Considered Good luck or Bad luck?

There is no evidence to support any superstition regarding crows; however, there’s still a lot of ambiguity around this unaddressed myth. Questions might often pop up in people’s minds because a group of crows is called ‘Murder’, which sounds creepy; however, this has nothing to do with murder or anything of that sort. 

People also believe that crows represent death; however, that is just because of a crow’s black appearance, which has always been associated with chilly or gloomy weather, and funerals or death.

Unlike most other birds with beautiful colored plumage and beaks, crows are completely black, making them look creepy and eerie, adding a hint of bleakness to their surroundings, especially at night.

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But if you look at them from a different angle, you’ll realize that crows aren’t as scary as they’re thought to be. Cultural myths and fictional stories have long been villainizing crows, associating them with everything dark and bleak—which is unfair to these birds.

They’re doing what any other bird would do, and to label them as bad luck is just unfair. One must keep in mind that several studies and research show that crows are smart, making them the most misunderstood bird out there.

Are Crows Supernatural or Intelligent?

Crows are extraordinarily intelligent. To one’s surprise, crows are one of the smartest birds on the planet, with a body-to-brain ratio similar to that of chimpanzees. This means that they have a body-to-brain ratio incredibly close to that of humans.

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They have excellent problem-solving abilities which help them hunt for food easily. It shows that they have exceptional problem-solving skills. They also tend to show emotions through their calls and can make up to 20 varied sounds for every different situation that they find themselves in.

Although overlooked by humans, their cleverness can sometimes make people think they have some supernatural power to foretell the future and predict the unseen.

Not only this, but crows can also make sounds of other birds’ calls, and it is also believed that they can learn to talk better than any other bird pet when in captivity.

But to say that they’re supernatural is a bit of a stretch; no bird is supernatural, and no bird is capable of inviting bad luck to a person—they’re just birds. So it’s safe to say that they are intelligent and not supernatural, which essentially is nothing more than a myth.

Can Keeping a Crow as a Pet Bring Bad Luck?

Although keeping a crow as a pet might cause no harm to you, it is not recommended because crows are supposed to be in the wild, with other crows. It doesn’t mean that the crow will bring bad luck to you. It is just that it’s very unhealthy for any crow to be in captivity as they are supposed to be living in the wild.

However, if you find an injured or baby crow, you must hand it over to a nearby animal rehabilitation center rather than keeping it as a pet at home. They are far better and well equipped to take care of the bird than us, ensuring that the bird does not lose its life. 

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If it is a little fledgling that you think has fallen out of its nest, then what you can do is look for a nest in the surrounding area and put it back in there. You can also place the bird on any nearest tree, at a safe height so that its family members can easily locate the bird.

Crows prefer living with their families, and their family members help them learn how to fly, protect themselves, and hunt for food. Although crows are great at following their natural internal instincts, it is still advised that they are left alone with their families and other crows.

Some Common Myths about Crows

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There are many myths about crows out there, from them being omens of death to being wicked witches. Keep on reading to find out more about some common myths and superstitions generally believed about crows. 

Myth 1 - Feeding Crows is Dangerous

Crows do not cause harm to those people who they don’t perceive as potential threats. So, if you were thinking of feeding crows, then go right ahead because they love food more than anything else in the world.

They are just like any other regular bird, and to say that they can cause bad luck is very unreasonable. They can be fed and attracted to backyards if you’re an avid birdwatcher. 

Their diet and pallet are vast; they can eat anything, including insects, worms, eggs, hatchlings of other birds, bread, veggies, dead fish, animals, garbage mice, and frogs as well.

As long as you’re making crows feel safe and comfortable, they will not harm you, and for that to happen, you need to develop a feeding routine because if they assume that you’re a threat to them, then they might attack you with the rest of the mob which can be a little scary.

Moreover, crows also feed on bird feeders so that you can install one, and you can feed them with unsalted sunflower seeds or different kinds of grains, depending on what you have to offer. Feeding crows will cause no harm to you.

Consider purchasing the GERBS roasted sunflower seeds for the feeder in your backyard. 

GERBS Roasted Whole Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds freshly harvested by specially trained staff - A product of United States.

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However, you must be mindful of how you’re going about feeding them because if you have other tiny garden birds, then crows might bully them away or even eat their eggs.

Myth 2 - Mysterious Happening in Surroundings

There is heavy symbolism associated with crows. Since crows are scavengers and feed on dead bodies, they’re primarily associated with death, funerals, dead bodies, witchcraft, black magic, haunted spaces, and causing bad luck; however, some people relate them with diseases like plague and war as well.

This isn’t entirely true because crows are in no way, shape, or form capable of sensing someone’s death or bring death to them. All of these superstitions exist because science was far behind back in the days, so people misjudged a certain situation and jumped to conclusions which then passed down to the generations next in line.

Myth 3 - Feeding on Human Corpses

Crows are known to feed on human corpses, which in itself is a gruesome claim. They’ve long been associated with this myth since war times as they always appeared in flocks near the dead bodies of the soldiers left behind on the battlefield.

According to this myth, crows and ravens used to feed on the dead bodies of the army men. It is also seen in history that crows fed on the corpses of epidemic victims. This myth is actually believable to some because of the crow’s carrion nature, but none of this can be backed by science or any other form of study.

However, if a dead body of a human is left unattended, you might see a flock of crows around or feeding on the corpse. 

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Myth 4 - Messengers of Wisdom and Law

Contrary to the atrocious myths about crows in different countries, religions, and cultures, American Indian tribes had a whole different point of view; they considered crows as the spirit of wisdom and the law. They believed that they’re wise advisers.

WARNING!

Crows can remember their enemies' faces and can hold grudges against them. If they feel any potential threat approaching them, they may fight it off by ganging up against the predator or the perceived enemy. 

Myth 5 - Crows Feed on Dead Animals

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Crows feed on corpses because they are sensitive to some compounds released by the dead bodies that attract them. It can be a corpse of any animal, insect, or worm.

When an animal dies, their bodies begin to produce smelly chemicals, which attract crows and other carrion birds. 

Simply feeding on dead bodies does not make them evil because they have no other motive; all they want to do is feed themselves, which remains their only motivation for what they eat and who they eat.

Myth 6 - Crows Are Carrions Birds

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Carrions birds are those birds whose diet mainly consists of meat from dead animals. While crows do not actively eat the dead, they can still be categorized as carrion birds because their diet includes meat from dead animals.

Crows have a unique digestive system that helps them consume dead meat. The older it is, the better; as the meat ages, it becomes tender, softer, and fragrant, attracting a flock of crows towards the body.

did you know?

Some crows have brains bigger than humans. For example, a Caledonian crow has a brain that weighs around 0.26 ounces; however, the body to brain ratio is huge, accounting for 2.7 percent. On the other side, an adult human has a 3-pound brain, making it 1.9 percent of the body weight.

Myth 7 - Crows Love Inhabiting Human Settlements

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Crows are well adapted to urbanized habitats, and they are also keen observers. Crows are categorized as synanthropic because they are partly dependent on humans for their daily food. There’s a high chance that these crows know more about your neighborhood than you.

Crows have undergone various genetic adaptations and mutations by developing physiological, morphological, ecological, and behavioral adaptability to changes around them, especially living in urban areas.

did you know?

Just like humans living in different regions have different languages, crows also have regional dialects. Their 'caw' may vary according to the place they live**.**

Myth 8 - Crows Remember Faces

All the other superstitions and myths aside, the myth about crows remembering faces is true.

Crows can remember human faces, especially those who have tried to threaten or harm them. They can remember such faces for the rest of their lives. They form a mob with their crow relatives to lunge at individuals who they think are dangerous.

If a person messes around with crows, their nests, their roosting spaces, or their eggs—crows will remember their face for life and will attack them every time they cross their path. Whenever they observe any activity that threatens their peace, they remember it for life.

From a crow’s point of view, remembering people’s faces isn’t a bad thing. They do that to stay cautious of the potential dangers that may be out there to harm them in any shape or form. It’s their instinct that they follow.

This isn’t a bad thing since they also remember faces that feed them, so every time their favorite person walks by, they caw at them and call out to them asking for food. Face identification helps them stay out of trouble.

fun fact

Most of the crows in urban areas are seen nesting on electric transformers. They will often use fiber-optic cables or wire hangers to build their nests. However, this is not the best idea for maintaining stable electricity supplies because it was a crow-caused blackout in primary cities in Japan.

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Keep Reading!

Are you mind-boggled after learning about the common myths and superstitions associated with crows?

Their intelligent, clever, and smart nature has long been weaponized against them by individuals who couldn’t explain the birds’ behavior, but thanks to science and other relevant studies, the myths and superstitions have started to fade.

Crows have been associated with numerous creepy and eerie things; however, there is still no evidence to prove them a cause for bad luck or good luck. Reading this post might have helped you understand crows and the myths circulating.

If you’re keen on finding out more interesting facts about crows, read this wonderful post detailing the 11 remarkable facts & FAQs about crows flying.

11 Remarkable Facts and FAQs about Crows Flying

Curious to learn about the flying rituals of the boisterous crows? Here's all you need to know about the flights of these gregarious species.

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By Iñigo Navarro

Bird Watching USA

My name is Inigo and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Iñigo Navarro Picture

Iñigo Navarro

Bird Watching USA

My name is Inigo and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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