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Nature: A Murder of Crows [Blu-ray] [Import]


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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Pbs (Direct)
  • Release Date: Jan. 11 2011
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00443FMIO

Product Description

Studio: Pbs Release Date: 01/11/2011 Run time: 60 minutes

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S.H. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 6 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Another excellent PBS documentary, this time presenting the study of Crow intellects, which amazingly (or not so given historic anecdotes) places them in the intellectual neighbourhood of dolphins.

Good stuff.
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By Kathleen Abbott on Feb. 4 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this documentary on TV and wanted to get it for my brother-in-law who lives in the country with lots of crows. He loved it! Very interesting if you have crows anywhere near you!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Vezina on Feb. 18 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Just love having the ability to have this stuff at home and watch it whenever I want it ! Great buy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 56 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Nature: A Murder of Crows June 24 2011
By Larry W. Rieke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As a person raised in the country and in love with the outdoors, I always had a dislike for crows. I never really understood why, it just was. Maybe it had to do with the way they always seemed to rat me out when hunting. Having watched this documentary on crows changed both my wife and my attitude and appreciation for the crow. It is amazing how a study like this can have such a profond effect on you. We now admire the crow and we watch them in the wild whenever they around. A fascinating creature of God, equally fascinating documentary.
63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Not quite a bird brain Dec 16 2010
By CGScammell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
The title of this short documentary refers to the high mortality of wild crows from a variety of reasons: predators, car crashes, diseases, extreme weather, people shooting at them. Only 40% of hatchlings make it to their first year, another 50% don't see their second birthday. Crows can recognize a face out of a crowd, especially the ones who have been enemies of the crows, and tell the rest of their flock who the bad guys are. Thus the title of this work.

This 52-minute-long documentary is about behaviorial experiments several ornithologists from the U of Washington (UoW)in Seattle and the Konrad Lorenze Institut in Austria have been conducting to prove the intelligence of these fascinating birds. One of these researchers, John Marsluff, is a wildlife biologist at UoW who provides most of the scientific data. Crows are smart, highly sociable, opportunistic, grieve for their dead partners, "scold" passersby and learn from other crows. They are grossly misunderstood. They communicate within their flocks, have over 250 distinct crow calls and are very territorial. They can remember a face for up to two years. Although they don't have the largest brains in the bird world, they are the most intelligent of all birds and have benefitted from evolutionary intelligence.

The Seattle ornithologists show the viewing audience the unique "tricks" crows can do, including recording the antics of a crow sibling pair, White Wing and her brother, who are followed around via radio transmitter for the first year to record their behavior. This team walks around the UoW campus wearing spooky-looking full-face masks during the experiments which probably had passersby watching the film crew wondering what was going on.

This is narrated by Nora Young, a soft and feminine voice that is accompanied by violin music whenever the scientists aren't speaking about their subject matter.

A lot of stuff mentioned in this documentary has already been extensively written about by Berndt Heinrich in his books on birds as well "Mind of a Raven" and "Ravens in Winter," books I highly recommend to anyone who wants to read more about crows and ravens.

Although this short documentary may not win any awards for cinematography, this is an interesting and enjoyable documentary for any bird or crow lover. I'd wish it were another hour longer, though. By the end of the documentary I was becoming attached to the crow subjects. I'm sure I won't be the only one after watching this!

I'm not sure why it says here "Released 11 January 2011" when this DVD is already on sale on the PBS website.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
this is very cool April 25 2011
By Larry A. Ownbey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Nature did a really good job of presenting some quite amazing facts. It's very likely to change the way you look at Crows. You can rest assured, they're studying what you are doing.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Murder of Crows - not perfect but very good work Aug. 23 2012
By Althetrainer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Our fascination with corvids began, this late spring, when we rescued 4 magpie chicks from some murderous crows. At that point we really thought magpies were the underdogs and crows, bullies. But as we started reading about corvids we began to realize how closely the two birds were related to each other. We observed them every day for 3 months, they are truly amazing! I am sure there are plenty people out there believe corvids are nothing but pesky creatures. Only if they understood how intelligent these birds really are.

This documentary film is very well done but a bit too short for its purpose. I have to agree with one other reviewer who stated that the experiment in the film seemed inconclusive. However, the flaw does not lie in the experiment but the film itself. The mask experiment was actually a lot more extensive and it lasted much longer than what the film shows us. Not only the experiment included random subjects (people) who wore masks on and off but some of the masks were also modified to test the crows cognitive ability. At one point the caveman's mask was wore upside down yet the crows still recognized it and treated it as a threat. If you are interested in reading about these experiments and learn how the authors came up with all other conclusions you may want to read the book "Gifts of the Crow". There are many stories and accounts (even brain anatomy and chemistry) in this book to explain why crows deserve the title "feathered apes". One of the co-authors to "Gifts of the Crow", John Marzluff, is also behind this wonderful documentary. If the movie seems a bit confusing, the book will draw you a much clearer picture.

I would like the film even better if it was a bit longer. In that case, a lot more information could be developed as a result less confusion. Imagine trying to make a 2-hour movie based on the entire Harry Potter series; it's inevitably that some details will have to be sacrificed in order to keep the film in predetermined length.

Overall I enjoy this short documentary. The filming was nicely done and the narrator was engaging. To those who don't know much about crows, this film will not only be enjoyable bit also eye opening.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Inconclusive, very poor study with even worse explanations April 11 2012
By Chuck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I'm a little thrown off by all the positive reviews. I love birds, and I find crows particularly clever and interesting. After finishing David Attenborough's "Life of Birds" I thought I would move on to this one, for some more focused attention on crows. While it's unfair to compare this to Attenborough's work, it's worth saying that it comes no where near the caliber of quality, footage or insight. I didn't find the documentary to contain any unique or insightful footage, just a regular shot of crows pecking through trash here, and gathering on power lines there. If you've never seen a crow use a tool before to get grubs, then this might be interesting in a couple of places ("Life of Birds" has much better footage of this though).
Now this might be a bit of spoiler, so be warned.
The individuals in this film carrying out a study on the learning cycle of crows did a very poor job, and the evidence was not just inconclusive, but dismissible. The idea was to find out if crows could not only recognize faces but also pass on that information to their young. Those completing the study wanted to see if baby crows would grow up and then still remember the faces of those that their parents found threatening while they grew up. They decided to wear masks and then ,they never explained how, but, while the masks were on they somehow caused the crows to feel threatened or in danger. Then they would walk by the crows without masks and find the crows did not caw but with the masks on they would caw warnings. They radio tagged a very small number of birds to follow as they grew up. They radio tagged them without the masks on. I found this to be a problem in the study. If I were a crow, I would then find those who stole me out of my nest while I was awake, and man handled me to be just as threatening at the individuals in the masks which did... what? Oh yeah, they never even tell you what exactly they did in the masks to upset the birds. Anyway, all but 1 of the crows dies, and when they find the last crow as an adult, they walk past him without the mask, and no response. Then he puts on the mask, and after walking past the crow and walking past it again and staring at it, and not leaving it alone for some time, the crow finally lets out a little caw, that they claim means he remembered and so his parents must have passed down this information to him. I don't think it's impossible for the crow to remember this, but I think they did a terrible job carrying out this study, and it seemed extremely nonscientific. Also the response time of the "warning caw" was very slow, and they have no way of knowing why it cawed. Crows caw, a lot. I get cawed at, and I never dawned a mask and threatened crows. This could have been a much better study... but I guess they did their best... so 3 stars it is.
Overall I found the documentary to be very uninteresting, and the study was annoying. I think crows are smart, I think the study was not.

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