Sunday, March 1, 2009

Crow on Goal

A Carrion Crow wearing a Japan national soccer jersey dribbles a miniature ball toward a goal at a Japanese zoo. "We tried to coach owls and falcons as well, but the crows were the best," said zookeeper Satoru Tanaka.

Soccer is for birds here — more specifically the crows.

A flock of the birds dressed in soccer jerseys showed off their dribbling and shooting skills at a Japanese zoo as football fever gripped the nation.

The four young carrion crows at Tokuyama Zoo in western Japan used their beaks to dribble a miniature ball toward a soccer goal, sometimes tackling each other for possession before scoring, according to head zookeeper Satoru Tanaka.

"The crows get tidbits every time they score", Tanaka said.

"We tried to coach owls and falcons as well, but the crows were the best. They're such intelligent creatures," he said. "The birds have only received about a month's training," he added.

The zoo is now trying to teach the avian team to pass and take free kicks, according to Tanaka.