The Corvus family are much maligned due to some rather unsavoury practices, but the truth is that they are also one of the most intelligent species of bird. Perhaps we dislike them so much because they reflect ourselves. Most live in large, sociable groups where youngsters are often observed playing – balancing or passing sticks is a favourite game. They use tools regularly and have been seen waiting for a red traffic light to put a nut on the road in order for a car to do the heavy work of breaking the shell. They have even been shown to out-perform dogs in food-finding tests. In mythology they are often portrayed as Tricksters – shapeshifting mavericks able to outwit the brightest human. They are for me, one of the most fascinating birds to paint and given their high numbers seem to rise alongside that of our own species, they may well be some of the most robust and adaptable creatures on the planet.