Wild Crow who Speaks English Appears to be Teaching His Friends to Talk

Earlier this month, The Dodo introduced the Hello Crow — a wild bird who was spotted on Canada’s Prince Edward Island showcasing an uncanny ability. He speaks English. Island resident Lisa Sandoval encountered the crow in the town of North Rustico.

She was stunned to hear him repeatedly say “hello” to her, and was lucky to catch his unique vocalizations on video: According to Sandoval, rumor has it that, some years prior, a man had rescued the crow as a baby. He spoke to the bird often during his recovery before releasing him when he was healthy.

By then, the crow had picked up at least one word from the man: “Hello.” Sandoval assumed the bird she encountered was that rescued crow, a one-of-a-kind talking phenomenon. But apparently she was wrong.

When The Dodo’s article about the Hello Crow was shared on a forum for people living on Prince Edward Island, comments from other locals came pouring in — all of whom had encounters with talking crows in towns across the island.

“I’ve heard crows many times saying, ‘Hello,’” one commenter reported. “Pretty cool.” “There’s one in our neighborhood also,” another added. “I have met many ‘hello’ crows all over the island!” a third wrote.Among them was Jessica Faulkenham.

She also captured a video from her sighting of a talking crow: “I was shocked. It was crazy,” Faulkenham told The Dodo. “[A] huge amount of people said they had a similar encounter.”The crow Faulkenham spotted sounded quite similar to the one Sandoval had heard.

However, resident Mike LeClair recorded a talking crow on the island, too — and this one had a slightly different “accent.” LeClair has encountered talking crows several times over the years, telling The Dodo:

“When I go to where they are, I usually hear them. “While there’s a chance that a singular Hello Crow has been making the rounds to all these different places on Prince Edward Island, it seems more likely that there are actually several with that speaking ability.“

We have one [where I live] that says ‘hello,’” island resident Len MacDonald wrote. “I remarked to my wife that it was possible someone taught it (or another crow) [how to say hello] and, in turn, [he] taught other crows. Looks like my hypothesis now has some credence.” MacDonald’s theory isn’t outlandish.

As highly intelligent birds, much like parrots, crows are indeed capable of mimicking human language — but it needn’t necessarily be learned from a human speaking it.

A naturalist from the Australia Museum once noted that formerly captive parrots returned to the wild were teaching their fully free counterparts to speak the same words they learned in captivity.

If the origin story of the first Hello Crow on Prince Edward Island is true, he has apparently been teaching other crows since his release to speak it, too.

Kathy Martin teaches ornithology, the study of birds, at the University of British Columbia. She lived on Prince Edward Island and has heard of wild crows saying hello.

She agrees that the vocalization may very well be one crows have gone on to teach one another. “Crows are very smart with complicated societies where they can learn from each other,” Martin told The Dodo.

When an animal is rescued from death and later released, the multitude of his or her future descendants owe their existence, in some ways, to that one act of kindness. But it seems that the kind man who rescued and released the original Hello Crow left a bigger mark than that — introducing a friendly greeting to the vocabulary of both present and future generations of crows.

And lucky visitors to Prince Edward Island just might get to hear his act of care and compassion for that original crow still echoing today: “Hello! Hello!”

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