It's true and I just witnessed the proof. I have known of course for years that crows are smart. I am a big discovery and national geographic nerd. A study shows that they are as smart as the Great apes even.
Anyway I just went to Tesco to fill my lunch hour as I forgot to bring a book to work so I had nothing better to do. I grabbed some beer, Wine gums and cat food.... you know... the essentials. Tesco are doing 6 bottles of hobgoblin or old speckled hen for €10 which for Ireland is good value, at least for quality beer. So I went back to the car and sat there listening to the radio for a while. Ray Foley, the DJ is 30 today and he is having his birthday party on air. He just had model Georgia Salpa in a bikini sitting on his lap. Georgia is also known as The Fás girl.
While sitting there I noticed a load of Seagulls (large type) and a single crow trying to get food out of a discarded bag of chips (steak fries for my US colleagues). The Seagulls being much larger kept the crow away and kept trying to shake the bag without success. Eventually they gave up and flew off and the patient crow walked over smugly, put a foot on the bag to stop it moving and like a woodpecker, pecked a hole in the bag. Once the hole was there it simply grabbed it and tore it open and grabbed some chips. This aroused the interest of the Gulls and they came back and chased the crow away (with some chips). They were able to grab some chips the crow left behind and then proceeded to shake the bag some more and again got no where. The crow finished its chips, came back and waited for the Gulls to give up. Once they did he walked over again, lifted the bag carefully and turned it over to spill the chips out. The crow then grabbed as many chips it could and flew to safety before the Gulls came back and finished them off.
I was laughing throughout the whole thing and thought it would have been great if I could record it. It was pretty amazing to watch.
I have heard of Crows in Japan that get big nuts of some sort, maybe walnuts and there is no way to crack them, not even by dropping them from a height so they fly down to pedestrian crossings and wait for someone to push the button. When the light come on and the pedestrians start walking, the crow walks over and leaves the nut in the path of a car. It then moves away to safety and waits until the next light change to go and retrieve its crushed nut.
I wonder at what age a human child could figure out how to get in to a Walnut?