Pamela S. Turner

Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Smartest Bird

“Required read­ing for any­one who believes we are the only,  or even the most, sapi­ent species on the planet.”

School Library Jour­nal, starred review

Crow Smarts

About the Book

It’s no longer an insult to be called ‘bird brained.’ Sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered that New Cale­don­ian crows deserve a spot along­side dol­phins, mon­keys, and chim­panzees in the ranks of super-smart ani­mals. Yet even with­in this elite crowd, New Cale­don­ian crows stand out. These birds not only use tools, but man­u­fac­ture a whole crow toolk­it. And their puz­zle-solv­ing abil­i­ties invite the ques­tion: Is a crow smarter than a second-grader?

Join sci­en­tist Dr. Gavin Hunt and his team in New Cale­do­nia as they inves­ti­gate the mys­ter­ies of crow smarts. How do New Cale­don­ian crows learn to use and make tools? Is it pos­si­ble that crows are improv­ing their tool tech­nol­o­gy and pass­ing the improve­ments on to the next generation—an achieve­ment long thought unique to humans? Where is this tool use dri­ving the crow brain, and what can crows teach us about the evo­lu­tion of intelligence?

Awards and Recognition

  • AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excel­lence in Sci­ence Books
  • Ani­mal Behav­ior Soci­ety Chil­dren’s Book Award Finalist 
  • Cal­i­for­nia Book Award finalist
  • CCBC (Coop­er­a­tive Cen­ter for Chil­dren’s Books) Choices 
  • Horn Book Best of the Year
  • John Bur­roughs Asso­ci­a­tion River­by Award
  • Junior Library Guild selection
  • Nerdy Book Award
  • Non­fic­tion Detec­tives Best of the Year
  • Horn Book starred review
  • School Library Jour­nal starred review


School Library Jour­nal starred review
“Required read­ing for any­one who believes that we are the only, or even the most, sapi­ent species on the planet.”

Horn Book starred review
“Turn­er’s friend­ly, some­times jok­ing tone effort­less­ly moves from amus­ing accounts of crow antics to sophis­ti­cat­ed expla­na­tions of crow and human evo­lu­tion. Com­in’s arrest­ing pho­tographs of the sleek black birds in the island land­scapes of New Cale­do­nia high­light their per­son­al­i­ties and intelligence.”

“With an approach­able writ­ing style and pho­tos of crows fes­toon­ing almost every page, this engag­ing vol­ume will attract bud­ding sci­en­tists, and the live­ly descrip­tions not only of the crows but of the sci­en­tists at work will give stu­dents plen­ty to ponder.”

Crow Smarts

pho­tographs by Andy Comins
with art by Gui­do de Filippo 
Sci­en­tists in the Field
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, August 2, 2016
ISBN 978–0544416192

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