Crows Birds stealing coins from car wash?


73 Responses to “Crows Birds stealing coins from car wash?”

  1. spazzm says:

    Wow, this thread is a regular birdwatcher pile-up.

  2. Banksynergy says:

    Ah, but is it an African or European swallow?
    I mean, err.. starling.

  3. The Tim says:

    SLYWY @ #21 is correct, it’s a European Starling.

  4. Stephen says:

    Why would this be based off Josh’s work or the other way around?

    Some birds collect shinny objects. That’s well known and is why Joshua Klein’s work exists.

  5. Maussist says:

    Starling, crow, swallow, who cares?

    The real question is, what are they saving up for?

    My money is on a family holiday in Aruba.

  6. Mister Staal says:

    That’s not a crow, it’s an ostrich.

  7. minTphresh says:

    PEANUTS, MAN!! starlings luv p-nutz too!

  8. Fenster says:

    There are deepcrows among us, and they are legion.

  9. futz says:

    Crows LOVE shiny things. I once knew some people who had a pet crow. Their roof was covered with shiny stuff he’d packed home from all over. For fun we used to give him a nice shiny thing the right size, but too heavy for him to fly with and watch the flapping and frustration. :D

    They’re pretty smart birds. Great personality and very funny.

  10. Battlehobo4000 says:

    I, for one, welcome our new Cro…starling overlords. That is, until, the Deep Crows here about these starling shenanigans. There will be hell to pay. Hell. 2. Peigh.

  11. gordongreg says:

    The problem started when the new owner complained to Bill that he was losing significant amounts of money from his coin machines each week.

  12. Anonymous says:

    ok, so why hasn’t anyone suggested the obvious yet? put one of joshua’s machines next to one of bill’s and make a killing selling peanuts to pesky birds who don’t know the true value of a quarter!

  13. ridl says:

    The King of Crows is stirring… but what is he doing in the Americas?

    800 pages of novel about this, please.

  14. anthony says:

    If you take a close look at the profile, those appear to be Canadian coins, not US quarters.

  15. nanoquimico says:

    looks like a starling. i can tell from some of the feathers and having seen quite a few starlings in my time.

  16. Aloisius says:

    John McCain must be desperate if he’s training birds to steal for his campaign.

  17. anthony says:

    Phikus, it’s all good. May you only be pelted by shiny valuables, and no other matter from the likes of crows, starlings or grackles.

  18. skramble says:

    I did not get why Rupert Sheldrake would be interested in this. Is he the guy who got stabbed? I do not follow the connection.

  19. Wulf says:

    Regardless of the fact that it’s a starling, doesn’t $4000 seem like a lot of quarters to put in a nest? In a tree? Even on the roof of the car wash it’s hard to believe it could go unnoticed! My guess about what we’re really seeing in that photo is the bird is clearing out coins from the nest it has made in the coin-return cup.

  20. Anonymous says:

    A perfect example of emergent behavior. Cool.

  21. Mim says:

    I bet those birds were working for this guy.

  22. Helena Handbasket says:

    Hahahaha, I’m from Frederick actually. So it amused me to no end that one of my favorite sites was featuring this story.

    Yes, that is a starling…a crow would be much larger, and they’re all over the place here.

    I’ll tell you something else – pretty sure that bird is smarter than a lot of the criminals around here.

  23. Agies says:

    Has been and always will be a Coin Bird

  24. Helena Handbasket says:

    PS For the sake of being accurate, a trait I am proud of and a quality I hold in high regard, just found out this pic is from FredericksBURG, VA, not Frederick, MD….oh, well.

    People have already posted the snopes link, so that’s that. That’ll teach me to get excited about things…

    BTW, Hungry for Coins is lol.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Starlings: you can’t trust ‘em. Not only will they steal coins, they will a crow in the process.

  26. Guesstimate Jones says:

    A crow tried to sell me a Street Sheet, one time…

  27. Versh says:

    I blame Eugene Schieffelin entirely for this. As for why a bird might want to collect coins, watch this.

  28. Chan Lee Meng says:

    Wow, $4,000? That’s probably a lot more than the car wash workers are paid in a month.

  29. SamSam says:

    … there was a link to this very story in the *fourth comment* when you posted the TED talk back in February. And even there it refers to it as an “oldie”…

  30. Pete Carlton says:

    Question for radio Yerevan: Is it true that crows are stealing coins from car wash vending machines?

    Answer: In principle, yes. But first of all, they are not crows but starlings; second, they are not car wash vending machines but.. but.. come on, someone help me out here. I totally had something a minute ago.

  31. anthony says:

    I read somewhere that crows’ interest in shiny objects turns to aversion once they hit maturity.

  32. Takuan says:

    anyone know WHY crows and starlings love shiny objects?

  33. Phikus says:

    Why thank you sir! I could use the change. =D

  34. Rob, Denmark says:

    They collect shiny objects to attract mates.

  35. Phikus says:

    Anthony: No, I thought you were saying they start to hate shiney objects later in life; to have an aversion to them in maturity, like: “What kind of a mate did you ever bring me, shiney coins! Pttui! (-sound of a crow spitting out a coin.)” I’m no animal behaviour specialist, so it sounded perfectly reasonable to me…

  36. Rob, Denmark says:

    And a link:

    “Common Ravens are known to steal and cache shiny objects such as pebbles, pieces of metal, and golf balls. One theory is that they hoard shiny objects to impress other ravens.”

  37. eustace says:

    Those starlings would still be getting away with this if filling out the 1040 form hadn’t defeated them.
    Deep Crows don’t worry about the IRS.
    As for Snopes

  38. anthony says:

    Phikus are you picking apart my grammar? You are the ‘maturity’ who is being ‘hit’?

  39. seyo says:

    I love starlings. And grackles. And yes, Snopes sucks. They are most certainly and evil disinformation organization, I’m not sure yet who they are working for. They still insist to this day that there is no such thing as “grade d but edible beef” even though I saw a box labeled that way with my very own eyes. I hate them.

  40. Phikus says:

    ANTHONY@65: If ever crows start pelting me with coins, now I’ll know why. I would have probably taken it personally. Thanks.

  41. Jolly57 says:

    Skramble; I think the reference to Rupert Sheldrake was based on his theory that all organisms are connected through a “morphogenetic field” and that advances in learning by some in the population leads to a collective wisdom by all. For example if rats learn to run quickly through a maze in North America through trial and error then rats who have never been in the maze will run through it more quickly regardless of where they are (perhaps even in Europe). I think Mark was trying to suggest that the learning that crows have been doing using the crow vending machines of Joshua Klein has transferred to other birds not connected to the vending machine directly. Or perhaps Rupert likes Starlings… I don’t know.

  42. Jack says:

    anyone know WHY crows and starlings love shiny objects?

    No idea. Anyone know how to keep the back of my iPod shiny? Must be shiny! Clean!

  43. IWood says:

    I post this in all crow-related threads: if you like them there birds and the folks that study them, pick up a copy of Bernd Heinrich’s Ravens in Winter.

  44. Anonymous says:

    So, how can we teach crows (or any kind of bird) to do that? That would be a great skill for a homeless person to have – teaching birds to bring him money in exchange for peanuts.
    Now that I think of it, that’d be a great skill for ME to have.

  45. hohum says:

    I live in Frederick, MD, and my hopes for seeing this were crushed not once (snopes, 2002, blahblah) but twice (Fredericksburg, VA). Thanks guys!

    P.S. It’s a grue. Coin done lost his torch.

  46. Dayv says:

    See, I was gonna comment to say that’s a grackle, but apparently what I’ve always known as grackles are actually starlings, and grackles are a different kind of bird entirely.


  47. GeekMan says:

    “Gimme the sparkly! I gotta have the sparkly!”

    Looks more like a starling to me, though.

  48. dr.hypercube says:

    Picking nits, I know, but the car wash thief looks like a starling (not a corvid).

  49. csbmonkey says:

    I third that that’s a starling.

  50. boingboing ate my name says:

    Snopes says the same thing, its a starling. And the pic is from 2002

  51. dewexdewex says:

    It’s definitely a Starling.

  52. gabrielm says:

    is this based off Josh’s work

    Probably not – since it is from 2002:

  53. Jack says:

    Neat, but this story about the birds stealing change dates back as far as 2002. The birds in question are not Crows, but Starlings.

  54. ElijahPDX says:

    Starlings suck. Crows rule. That is mos def a sucky starling.

  55. LogrusZed says:

    Four thousand bux worth of quarters? Bullshit.

    Replace the “,” with a “.” and move it one spot to the right, maybe.

  56. Cpt. Tim says:

    this was actually me. I did this, and blamed it on the starlings.

  57. gabrielm says:

    Wow – is there an echo in her or what?

  58. jimh says:

    I don’t think that’s a crow. I just wish I could remember what kind of bird it is. Starts with an “s”, I think?

  59. erika says:

    It’s a starling. Starlings are awesome. Starling language has syntax. They don’t just mimic, but this site has starlings mimicking human singing. It’s one of the most alien sounding things I’ve ever heard… http//

  60. GeekMan says:

    #7 – I second the suckiness of those highly invasive starlings. It’s probably about to try to eat those coins.

  61. gabrielm says:

    “her” == “HERE”
    Stupid fingers must be moving faster then my brain today!

  62. Capybara says:

    It’s definitely not a crow but a snipe. I know that because my cousins used to take me hunting for them.

  63. Nelson.C says:

    JimH @10: This is a complete guess, but could it be a starling?

  64. rawdirte says:

    whya dissin’ starlings?

    “bird” in the title

    think someone’s been crawlin’ in one of your holes and stealing neurons.

    blame it on crows. (birds)

    lime you!

  65. adric says:

    I don’t know about you guys but if I was a betting man I’d say that was a starling.
    Also Snopes says it’s in Fredericksburg, Virginia not Maryland

  66. Stefan Jones says:

    Has anyone tried calling (800) 336-8795 for Magic Spray’s take on the subject?

  67. Takuan says:

    someone should recite the provenance of this bird in North America

  68. dr.hypercube says:

    Though they are mostly an invasive PITA over here, strlngs (or dwarf European mynahs, if you prefer *grin*) do make what my family calls pepper sky.

  69. SeamusAndrewMurphy says:

    I beg to differ, that’s no crow. It’s a penguin.

  70. slywy says:

    Old, old story I get periodically from well-meaning friends.

    Definitely a European starling, not a crow. Just look at that bill and the size.

  71. Phikus says:

    “You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St. Starling’s…” (-a better rhyme than St. Martins, anyway…)

    Anybody who thought it was crows was contemplating MURDER… MURDER I say! Muhuhuhhahahahah!

    AGIES@40: You’re link to Coin Bird was the bees knees. (Yes, I’m thinkin’ ’bout the birds and the bees…)

    Good thing someone got to the bottom of this, or we’d have to call out the Car Wash Change Thief Action Squad! (Can anyone find a link to this hilarious Mr. Show sketch? Alas, I could not…)

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