The Crow and the Pitcher
A thirsty Crow found a Pitcher with some water in it, but so little was there that, try as she might, she could not reach it with her beak, and it seemed as though she would die of thirst within sight of the remedy. At last she hit upon a clever plan. She began dropping pebbles into the Pitcher, and with each pebble the water rose a little higher until at last it reached the brim, and the knowing bird was enabled to quench her thirst.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
-All four subjects solved the task, using stones to raise the water level to a height at which the worm could be reached.
-Subjects were highly successful regardless of the starting level of the water and the number of stones needed.
-They were also highly accurate, putting in only the exact number of stones needed to raise the water level to a reachable height. They did not continue putting stones into the tube once this had been achieved and did not add any more stones once they had taken the worm. This suggests that the behavior was goal directed.
"...the crow-court, or meeting, does not appear to be complete before the expiration of a day or two, with crows coming from all quarters to the session.
As soon as they are all arrived, a very general noise ensues, the business of the court is opened, and shortly after they all fall upon one or two individual crows, (who are supposed to have been condemned by their peers,) and put them to death. When the execution is over, they quietly disperse."
Dr. Thomas edmondstone. View of the Ancient and Present State of the Shetland Islands
"They"re hard to keep track of," he says. "Initially, I wanted to test questions about cooperative breeding, but I had trouble following the adults--they fly too far and are too wary." And catching adult crows is difficult at best. The birds are intelligent and suspicious.
Hey! I remember you! Caw!
The researchers launched a five-year study to find out how much data their research subjects had been gathering on them. To ensure that crows were responding to their faces and not to their clothes, binoculars or some other ornithologist cue, the scientists wore different masks while trapping birds at each site. The masks included a caveman, Dick Cheney and several custom-made realistic faces.
The birds quickly learned that the masked bird-trapper was bad news and proceeded to scold the mask-wearer anytime they saw him or her. But over the years, the researchers found, the mobbing became more and more widespread. In February, Marzluff said, he ventured out of his office in a mask he'd worn five years earlier while trapping seven birds.
"I got about 50 meters [165 feet] out of my office and I had about 50 birds on me, scolding me," he said. "I hadn't worn that mask on campus for a year."
They wait patiently on rooftops and tree branches as the sun rises. When the trash goes out, the carnage begins. Crows descend upon bulging plastic bags, disembowel them in search of food, and gleefully scatter the contents across front lawns.
Professional crow-chaser Ulrich Watermann just laughs and shakes his head as he watches the birds.
"People," he says, "are incredibly stupid."
Crows, on the other hand, are smart - smart enough to memorize garbage routes and a lot more. Humans, with our big brains and opposable thumbs, should theoretically be able to outwit them. Yet fat crows and messy lawns remain common sights, not just in this southern Ontario town, but in crow-plagued cities from Burnaby, B.C., to Charlottetown.
Crows 'n Tools
Hoppie (the crow) could talk. He would say a number of things and would sit on top of the house and chatter away. Some times it was easy to make out what he said. However, the word he used the most was "Elmer," the name of the boy who looked after him. Hoppie would follow him to school and sit on top of the school and holler 'Elmer' as loud as he could.
The teacher contacted his mother asking that they keep him home. They locked him in the porch while Elmer walked to school. Later, they released Hoppie, and it wasn't long before he arrived at school again, hollering 'Elmer'. Everyone thought he was so smart to find his way to school all alone.
I can only hope to change what I can control, within reason.
There are a plethora of things that I can't control, so why worry?
Just today I came across a blackbird that got its talons covered in thick tar.
It couldn't grab anything, because the tar was keeping its talons from moving.
I had a compassionate urge to help this poor creature. I felt real bad.
It was tired and stressed, and looked like it wasn't able to fend for itself in days.
It just happened to jump in front of me at the right time, so I caught it.
Birds don't like to be touched. Or caught for that matter. This one was weak though.
This blackbird was watching me so intently, as if to sense it was getting help.
I didn't know if it could fly, so I just tried to keep it calm...that was a challenge in itself.
This poor bird probably thought I was out to kill it, not help it...so it was struggling.
Immediately, I was compelled to get this bird back in the air, so I started cleaning.
The tar wasn't easy to remove, but once the bird started grasping my fingers, I felt better.
I brought it to an area that it could rest and regain enough strength.
Meanwhile, it was loudly making the common "CAWW" sound as if calling for help.
Four more blackbirds joined us as we all walked/flew to the river bank.
The other birds looked more sleek and strong, and they were calling loudly "CAWW"!
All the sudden, one came flying at my head! Then another! Kamikaze style!
They didn't want me touching their stranded friend. I was ducking for cover!
The next few minutes I was ducking and weaving trying not to get hit in the head...
When all the sudden, WHACK...a blackbird actually hit me in the head.
I knew these guys were seriously attacking, or guarding this other bird...
So I rushed to get to an area where I could set it down.
Then I let the blackbird rest on a guardrail post.
After five minutes, he gathered enough strength to fly atop a tree.
He perched on a tree branch and looked back at me.
We watched each other for a few minutes...
Then he "CAWWed".
As if to say, "Thanks".
Excellent thread. Crows are fastinating creatures.Years ago I used to work for the local zoo.It's located in a very old park in Buffalo.Every October the crows would gather in the tens of thousands in the park and stay together there for about a week.They came from all over the area.It seemed like they were having a party.They still do this every October.When whatever they are doing is over they disappear as quickly as they appeared.
I don't think that it is a migration thing as it doesn't occur in the spring.Very odd,there are so many of them and they raise quite a racket.It happens the second or third week in October every year.
Over the years I have known a couple of folks who kept them as pets. Super intelligent birds.They could do all kinds of tricks they had been taught.