Crows have long been considered cunning. In fact, it’s now believed that they could be the second smartest animal after primates. Crows are able to solve complex problems spontaneously, so no wonder they are sometimes called “feathered apes.”

And it seems like one Oregon woman who goes by the handle u/cranne has become quite a friend to them. In this Reddit thread, u/cranne shared a story of how she accidentally created an army of crow bodyguards who later started being defensive towards their human friend.

Not only did the crows follow the woman whenever she went outside; on one occasion, they literally dive-bombed a neighbor.

But the story has a very wholesome update, which proves these dark-feathered creatures are not the vile birds from Alfred Hitchcock’s film, but quite on the contrary. Read the full story down below, and don’t forget to share your own crow stories in the comment section!

Image credits: KatHeubeck

Here is the full story shared by the Oregon woman who got concerned about her crow friends attacking the neighbors

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For centuries, crows have played bad guys in folklore and legends, so no wonder these large, intelligent, all-black birds with unique voices have long been seen as somewhat shadowy and suspicious. Their cultural associations with the macabre, like in Hitchcock’s horror thriller The Birds, have likely added to humans’ natural distrust of them.

Image credits: Griffin Wooldridge

However, the creatures are obnoxiously intelligent, maybe even more than we’d like to think. To find out more about them, Bored Panda reached out to Steve Portugal, a comparative ecophysiologist and professor of Animal Physiology and Behaviour at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Steve told us that in theory, it’s perfectly fine to feed crows, but there can be risks with feeding any birds. “Firstly, bird tables and feeders need to be cleaned regularly to avoid disease transmission. Secondly, any time a wild animal becomes habituated and accustomed to humans, there is a risk they become a little comfortable in residential areas, possibly eating the wrong diet, or becoming a nuisance if they make an association between humans and food.”

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“Crows, as part of the Corvid family, are highly intelligent animals,” Steve said and added that “Corvids as a group are some of the most intelligent animals on the planet.” That means that they are perfectly capable of recognizing individuals over long periods of time.

In that sense, Steve confirmed that it’s indeed possible to befriend crows as “an individual could build a relationship with crows, if they interact regularly in a positive way.”

And this is what people had to say about it

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When asked why some crows become aggressive towards humans, Steve said that over time, they build an association between humans and food. “They would build an expectation, through conditioning, that humans equal food. It’s possible, therefore, that if the crows approach a human who then doesn’t provide food, confusion then leads to aggression.”

Later, the thread’s author posted this wholesome update melting everyone’s hearts

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Researchers have recently found that crows are capable of forming long-lasting memories of who can be trusted and who can’t with only one previous experience. After they learn who is to be trusted, they have that quintessential knowledge of separating people who are likely to feed or to shoot them.

Moreover, crows share the information gathered between them, making it spread way faster than it would if each bird had to learn on its own. That’s why their adapting skills are absolutely remarkable.

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So if you’re thinking of befriending crows, your fastest way to their hearts is through the stomach. Just like all animals, these birds love munching on anything from fruit, vegetables, insects, berries, kibble, popcorn, kitchen scraps, and even roadkill. Crows are so open-minded about their diets since they are omnivorous scavengers.

But feeding crows takes a little more than simply throwing them some treats when you feel like it. In fact, you should establish a regular feeding schedule so that the birds know when to expect you. As smart as they are, they will likely tell the good news to fellow crow friends, and you’ll have a full-on army by your yard the next day.

And this is what others had to add to the thread

Image credits: KatHeubeck

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Most importantly, never forget that these amazing birds are wild animals. Keep a safe distance, make sure you don’t get too close, and treat them with respect. Even after years of friendship, a crow will still be standoffish, but it’s better this way for both of you.