Make It! Paper Crow

Illustration of Asops Fable Crow Trying to get water from pitcher

One of the members of our backyard workforce that we are introduced to in Do Unto Animals is the crow. Crows are one of the smartest animals in our animal kingdom. In fact, they are said to be just as clever as chimps and gorillas. Not only are their brains about the same size as some primates, but they share many of the same behaviors, like using tools and solving problems.


One of many Aesop’s fables is the story of a thirsty crow that comes upon a pitcher of water. The pitcher has an opening that is too small for the crow’s head to fit through, but the fable states that the crow finds a way to reach the water inside the pitcher using very simple tools.

Researchers in New Zealand decided to test a real crow’s ability to solve this puzzle. The task was set, with an object floating in the water to entice the crow, and the crow did not disappoint! He managed to get a hold of the object with his beak. The crow proved to be on par with the intelligence level of children aged five to seven who had also attempted the task.

Are you as smart as a crow?

Test how your intelligence measures up! Can you solve Aesop’s riddle?

Here goes: Using only one tool—a string, a stick, or some pebbles—how can the crow reach the star floating inside the glass pitcher with the opening too small for the crow’s head?

(Answer at the bottom of the page, below the craft!)

** More information on the intelligence of the crow can be found in Do Unto Animals **

Make a Paper Crow:

The Finished Paper Crow The Hey Friend Foundation Craft

To celebrate the crow and his ability to solve puzzles using simple tools, we’re building a paper crow sculpture out of nothing more than paper and tape! Jodi Levine is showing us how to make paper crow sculptures to use as decoration around our house. We’re going to be looking at these guys a whole lot different this Halloween!


  • Paper bag
  • Newspaper or scrap paper
  • Masking tape
  • Steel galvanized wire
  • Black acrylic paint

1. TWIST the closed end of your paper bag and WRAP masking tape firmly around to form a pointed end. This will be the head of your crow.

2. If you are making a sitting crow sculpture, PUSH a small amount of newspaper inside the bag to form a baseball-shaped mound. This will be the body of your crow. If you are making a flying crow, TWIST the paper bag gently to make a straight body for your crow.

3. MEASURE 4-inches up from the open end of the paper bag (the opposite end to the head) and WRAP masking tape firmly around to create a bon-bon like shape. Be sure to keep the form of the body – round or straight. The loose end will be the tail of your crow.

The Hey Friend Foundation Paper Crow Craft Step 01

Above: The structure needed to make a flying crow (see image below)

The Hey Friend Foundation Paper Crow Craft Step 02

Above: The structure needed to make a sitting crow (see image below)

4. COVER the entire paper bag with masking tape. Ensure that the head, body, and tail of the crow remain in shape.

5. ADD extra pieces of masking tape to the sculpture to form a pointy beak and a flat tail.

The Hey Friend Foundation Paper Crow Craft Step 03

Above: Masking tape used to make the final structure of a flying crow.

The Hey Friend Foundation Paper Crow Craft Step 04

Above: Masking tape used to make the final structure of a sitting crow.

6. CUT a piece of wire and bend in half to make an L-shape. The vertical side will be the leg of your crow and the horizontal side will be the foot.

7. SHAPE the horizontal side of the wire into feet by BENDING the wire in and out in an S-shape until you form three toes. REPEAT on a second piece of wire to make a second leg.

8. ADD the legs to the body of your crow using tape.

9. PAINT the crow with black acrylic paint.



Real crows given this test figured out that dropping pebbles into the pitcher will cause the water level to rise and the star to move to the top of the pitcher, close enough for them to use their beak to grab the prize!


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