Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Bird Brains

As you know from my December and January posts, I fell in love with chickadees. In fact I have always liked birds and have housed budgies and finches in my day. In fact, if people know how to go about it, budgies can be great fun as pets. Most don't, however; they buy them too old and then have no idea what to do with them.

This article in The Star cites a report on bird intelligence that might interest some. A few of its examples are listed below.

  • Vultures during the civil war in Zimbabwe "using a minefield as a frying ground," Lefebvre told the conference. "They would wait and, boom! Some animal would be killed and the vultures would swoop down. They would actually perch on the barbed wire and wait for the minefields to give them chopped antelope."

  • Japanese crows at intersections flying down and placing walnuts in the path of cars. The shells were cracked and the crows returned to pick up the nuts. They even learned to wait for the light to turn red so they could use the crosswalk while the traffic was stopped.

  • Herons "fly-fishing" by catching an insect and dropping it on the surface of the water to attract fish.

  • Crows making "tools" from leaves to catch insects.

  • Tits, woodpeckers and magpies in England pecking open the caps on milk bottles.


swamp4me said...

There was a news story last year here in the States about a pair of birds that chose to nest inside a home supply store. The birds learned to fly by the sensor to open the automatic doors.

There are also birds that have learned that the grills on parked cars are a great place to pick up a snack.

Your chickadee posts were great. You have a different species than we do, but they seem to behave the same as ours!

-epm said...

"[Vultures] would actually perch on the barbed wire and wait for the minefields to give them chopped antelope."Careful... you might have just given the Bush administration the twisted logic it needs to reclassify it's rationalization for the use of landmines as an environmentally friendly, avian support program.

kathy said...

learning this stuff about birds was amazing. I really enjoyed reading this. and the comments were good too! LOL that pair of Birds who learned how to open the automatic doors! Awwww!

swamp4me said...

This comment has nothing to do with birds, rather it has to do with my "bird brain." Since you do such a lovely job on your blog and you use the same basic template as I do, I was wondering if you could help me. I want to put an add-on in my sidebar but I don't know where to put the HTML code in my template. The Blogger help site just said it was easy, it didn't explain how to do it!

blue2go said...

I love chickadees and nuthatches, they're so cute!

Anvilcloud said...


Christi said...

Birds! Nifty stuff! We used to have some birds living in the Home Depot I worked at. They weren't quite smart enough to figure out how to open the doors themselves, but they figured out how to get out when people went through the doors.

Dale said...

And you rarely - if ever - see a dead crow on the road. They're much too smart for that. Oh yes. While feeding near or on the road, crows always post a lookout. When a vehicle approaches, the lookout calls ...

(Are you ready for this?)


Oh man. I crack myself up sometimes.