Crows Build Nest Out of Coat Hangers

When Aesop wrote the famous fable “The Crow and the Pitcher”, he wasn’t making up a story. The fable was based on actual observation that was confirmed by recent scientific studies that found that crows, indeed, do just the same as the crow in the fable when presented with a similar situation. Crows are remarkably intelligent creatures who demonstrate complex skills like the ability to manufacture and use tools, remember human faces, and use individual experience to predict, plan and adapt to their environment. Crows are found to bend wires into hooks to acquire hard to reach food, crack open walnuts by dropping them into pavements from a height, and even memorize the schedule of the garbage truck so that could pick up some tasty morsels.

Food isn’t the only motivation factor that drive crows to adaptability. Crows also demonstrate intelligence when building nests, using whatever materials that are available to construct them. A typical nest is composed of interlocking twigs, often recycled from the old nest, and pieces of wires of various lengths and thickness, gathered from the surrounding, to strengthen the nest structure. Tokyo residents have observed that crows in the city have learned to use coat hangers instead.

In such a large city, there are few trees, so the natural materials that crows need to make their nests are scarce. As a result, the crows will often steal hangers from the people who live in apartments nearby, and carefully assemble them into intricate nests. The completed nests almost look like works of art.

Nests built from hangers were also discovered in other Japanese cities. In Fukuoka City, the Jungle Crow would often make nests atop power lines during the breeding season that could cause large blackouts due to short circuiting. The Kyushu Electric power company actually has "crow patrols" that search out and destroy hanger nests on their power grid.