Talk:Crow's nest

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The purported origin of the term (storing crows for navigational purposes at the top of the mast) is indeed mentioned in the source given. But it smells overwhelmingly of folk etymology to me, and not even a good one. I've never encountered any other mention of crows used for navigation, and storing their cages at the top of the mast is nonsensical. The phrase "when the weather prevented sighting the shore visually", as if this were a trip round the bay rather than an ocean-going vessel, further undermines the author's credibility.

On land, crows typically build big nests in the sparse tops of tall trees. Thus a nautical "crow's-nest" would look rather like ... a crow's nest. PeteVerdon 09:10, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

I was about to drop in here to make the same remark, but you beat me to it, by about 4 years. I agree that the crows-in-cages story is utterly ridiculous. Unfortunately, on WP an argument like "that's obviously idiotic" doesn't cut the mustard; to kill off the cage claim I think we need a better reference than the existing. I say "unfortunately" because all the sources I have googled so far don't bother to give any etymology for the phrase (probably because it's so obvious to anyone who has ever seen the nest of a crow.) The best I have found so far is this -- (talk) 17:12, 6 June 2010 (UTC)


Is it just me, or is the picture of the "crow's nest" simply the main top of a ship? --Woland 18:38, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Yeah that's definitely just a top - either on the fore or main mast, can't tell from that angle. You can see the crosstrees the top rests on there as well. Martocticvs 20:05, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

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