The clever bird even steals a customer’s credit card to pay for the train fare.

If you’ve been to Japan before, you’ve probably stumbled upon some surprising things that stand out as being very different to everyday life back home. One of these things might be the efficiency of the country’s transport system, or the non-confrontational nature of the people, or if you’ve spent any length of time here, the huge population of smart, big black crows.

For many locals here, crows are such a prominent aspect of everyday life that people have to cover their trash with mesh to deter the birds from getting into their scraps, and local governments set up crow traps at parks and temples to cull the population, which has been rising steadily every year.

The big black birds are so used to living alongside humans that they’re not afraid of invading their personal spaces, and for one particular crow spotted recently, that means cutting the line at the station to buy a train ticket from the automatic machines…and stealing a commuter’s credit card to pay for it in the process.

Take a look at the video, which was filmed at Kinshichō Station in Tokyo’s Sumida ward, here:

Scientific research has shown that crows are among the most intelligent animals on earth, capable of solving complex problems, making tools, and even considering possible future events. This crow certainly shows some of these traits, mimicking human behaviour by concentrating first on the touch panel of the machine, even pressing a button to get to the next screen after the automated voice can be heard saying “Please press your desired button” in Japanese.

Then it seems to understand that some sort of payment is required to complete the transaction, so it hops over to the next machine to steal the customer’s credit card right from underneath her nose.

As it returns to its original machine, the bird looks around as if trying to figure out where the card needs to be inserted.

Then it appears to return the card to its owner, as she says “Return it!” and then “Thank you!”, only to then stand over it, as the clip ends with someone saying “Shall we call a station attendant?”

According to @kinoshi42155049, who filmed the scene, the bird ended up returning the card to its owner, although it appears that the crow was unsuccessful in buying a ticket for the train. Why it was there in the first place remains unknown, but Twitter users were quick to leave their comments online.

“This bird is so clever! But a little frightening at the same time.”
“Wow. It looks like it’s been watching human behaviour at the machines and mimicking the actions perfectly.”
“I never knew these birds were so smart! Thanks for sharing!”
“So many people think crows are a menace but I’m always surprised by their curiosity and playfulness.”
“It must’ve been tired from flying so it wanted to take train instead!”

The video was such a surprise to everyone that the clip even made its way to Japanese television.

While some might argue that the crow was simply attracted to all the shiny things around it, most people are choosing to read more into the bird’s human-like actions, particularly given that crows are capable of learning and copying behaviour.

So next time you come across one of these big black birds in Japan, you might want to keep a firm grip on your belongings. And if you’re a panda, you’d better watch your back, because panda fur is a hot commodity in the world of crows.

Source, featured image: Twitter/@kinoshi42155049