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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Smarter than your Average Bird

Anyone who has doubts about the intelligence of birds should watch this video of a New Caledonian Crow making a tool out of wire to retrieve food (read more here).

The bird is one of a group of crows being studied at Oxford University. In the wild, the crows make a wide variety of tools. In captivity, the researchers have shown that this is an inherited trait--the captive birds are able to make unique tools without ever being exposed to other tool-making crows.

Here in Pennsylvania, American Crows are setting up territories. Driving around in rural areas, you can see single birds perched high in trees, staking out nest sites. As perhaps the smartest birds around, when you watch them, you can be sure they are watching you back. Ever feel like you were being watched? If you were outside you probably were!

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