The Crow, Ninja Mascot

ninja crow

If Ninjutsu had a mascot, it would definitely be the crow. In Ninja culture one representation of the crow is a mythical Japanese creature called the Tengu. The crow is also a symbol of strength, they never forget a face, can be trained for war, and have been known to eat humans.

Mythological Crow

crow yatagarasu
Yatagarasu guides Emperor Jimmu.

In Asian culture, the Chinese crow Sanzuwu is depicted having three legs representing the sun. In fact, there were ten sun crows that traveled the world daily on a carriage guided by the mother of the suns.

Crows are called Yatagarasu in Japanese mythology and represent the will of heaven in human affairs. This three-legged crow was thought to be a descendant of Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun in Shintō religion. This mythological creature was passed down through generations to represent many things and is presently used by the Japanese Football Association as their symbol of quickness and strength.

A Closer Look at our Friend The Crow

Corvids, as they are called by their other name, are some of the most comply misunderstood animals surrounding us. So how did crows get such a dark and ominous representation with a close association to death? In the 1300’s the bubonic plague infected some 75 million people on three continents. With so many people laying dead, crows could be found eating bread or human remains.

But that’s not all they eat. In one 4 month breeding season a family of crows can eat over 40,000 bugs, but they also like Chinese food. Some crows are great fisherman dropping bait in the water and waiting for fish to surface snatching them from the water.

Crows also enjoy leisure time by sledding in snow, playing fetch and swinging on branches. This type of play acts as a stress reliever and family bonding time. American crows seem to mimic American culture by mating for life, claiming territory to start a family and siblings even stick around and freeload or, help, raise the young ones. So when you see large groups of crows it’s most likely a whole family. When a fellow crow dies, they hold their own funerals by gathering in huge crowds even bringing sticks around the body cawing very loudly then dispersing in silence almost on cue.

Talking Crows

Edgar Allen Poe may have been correct in thinking that crows could talk. With a very unique way of communicating, a crow’s caw can have a very distinct meaning, but crows, like parrots, can speak. Captive crows usually do so by mimicking their owners vocal tone and will speak human words or names in tones only meant for that person. Between crows, their language is very diverse complete with accents and regional dialects.

Facial Recognition Crows

In addition to their diverse language, crows never forget a face. A University of Washington Professor of Wildlife Science John Marzluff PhD, conducted facial recognition experiments with crows that found they could spot one face in a crowd of 40,000 students. In his experiment, Dr. Marzluff exposed a group of tagged crows to a man wearing a dangerous mask then released these seven crows. Over three years later, the crows still reacted fearfully when the crows saw the dangerous mask, in fact, those seven crows taught the other crows on campus to hate the mask as well.

Seal Team Crow

By now many people have heard the term Seal Team Six, but what you don’t know is that the Pentagon used a network of spy crows to help find Bin Laden because of their facial recognition ability. Crows were also used to find soldiers who were M.I.A. by study photos of their faces.

Ufo’s and Crows

Indigenous crows use long sticks to hunt for food by bending straight sticks to make hooks to fish out delicious bugs. In 2013, German scientists conducted experiments displaying the crow’s high level of intelligence and ability to use tools. Betty the crow, bend a straight piece of wire to make a hook to pull food from a long tube. By studying a crows brain, they could also help us communicate with aliens if they exist. When mammals reason, we use our prefrontal cortex but crows don’t have one. Their reasoning is located in the nidopallium caudolaterale and by studying a brain that works in a different way, it is believed that this could helps us communicate with our outer space neighbors.

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