Topic: Rooks and fables  (Read 7880 times)

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Offline Sirgod

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Rooks and fables
« on: August 07, 2009, 06:15:30 pm »
Very cool story here folks.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8181233.stm

One of Aesop's fables may have been based on fact, scientists report.

In the tale, written more than 2,000 years ago, a crow uses stones to raise the water level in a pitcher so it can reach the liquid to quench its thirst.

Now a study published in Current Biology reveals that rooks, a relative of crows, do just the same when presented with a similar situation.

The team says the study shows rooks are innovative tool-users, even though they do not use tools in the wild.

Another paper, published in the journal Plos One, shows that New Caledonian crows - which like rooks, are a member of the corvid group, along with ravens, jackdaws, magpies and jays - can use three tools in succession to reach a treat.

-----------------------

Video at link.

Stephen
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 09:33:50 pm »
More and more animals have been observed to make limited use of tools.

There are two things that I don't believe animals have been observed to do with tools:

1/ Keeping and maintaining a tool for future use.

2/ Making tools specifically for the purpose of making other tools in the future.

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Offline marstone

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 10:06:59 pm »
birds and other animals have used small sticks and such to poke in holes to get bugs out.

But I haven't see any documentation of the two points.

Side point no tools that kill better either.
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Offline Sirgod

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2009, 12:39:54 am »
I'm not Sure Mars, I could have sworn that I saw footage of a polar bear using a block of ice, or maybe a rock to kill a seal.

I also found this, which is interesting my friend.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070222-chimps-spears.html?source=rss

Chimps Use "Spears" to Hunt Mammals, Study Says
John Roach
for National Geographic News
February 22, 2007

For the first time, great apes have been observed making and using tools to hunt mammals, according to a new study. The discovery offers insight into the evolution of hunting behavior in early humans.

No fewer than 22 times, researchers documented wild chimpanzees on an African savanna fashioning sticks into "spears" to hunt small primates called lesser bush babies (bush baby photo).In each case a chimpanzee modified a branch by breaking off one or two ends and, frequently, using its teeth to sharpen the stick. The ape then jabbed the spear into hollows in tree trunks where bush babies sleep.

(Watch new video of a chimp retrieving a bush baby hunted with a "spear.")

When hunting in the hollows, "almost without fail, every time they would withdraw the tool, they would sniff it or lick it, and then proceed to stab it in there again," said Jill Pruetz, an anthropologist with Iowa State University who led the research in Senegal.

"And they did it so forcibly that our assumption is the bush babies would have been injured if there were always bush babies in the hollow," she continued.

Anthropologist and study co-author Paco Bertolani witnessed the single case in which a chimpanzee successfully extracted a bush baby with a spear. The ape subsequently tore apart and ate the smaller primate.

Bertolani "couldn't tell for sure if the bush baby was dead or not" when it was first taken from the hollow, Pruetz said of the graduate student from England's University of Cambridge.

"But it didn't make any vocalizations, didn't attempt to escape—that sort of thing. So we are hypothesizing they are using the tools to incapacitate the bush babies."

Primatologist Craig Stanford, who was not involved in the research, called the 22 observed instances of spearmaking "good evidence."

But the observation of only "one actual kill—and no visual evidence of the spear being used as a spear—weakens it," the University of Southern California (USC) professor said in an email.

The new report was published online today in the journal Current Biology. The National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration partially funded the project. (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society.)

----------------

More at link.

Stephen
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Offline marstone

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2009, 01:03:07 am »
I will have to read that. 

Will state now, I stand corrected. 

They use them to extract smaller primates from hollows in trees.  Similar to the chimps using sticks to get termites from mounds.  (exept instead of the termites attacking the stick and getting pulled out and licked off the stick, they impale the poor smaller primates pull them out and eat them)

Quote from story.

But the observation of only "one actual kill—and no visual evidence of the spear being used as a spear—weakens it," the University of Southern California (USC) professor said in an email.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2009, 01:25:47 am by marstone »
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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2009, 04:32:59 am »
There was another story recently on an experiment that confirmed self awareness of mynah birds. (something about coloured dots and mirrors) Not surprising to me. You only need see crows coordinate an attack/defense against a bald eagle once to understand. I seem to recall that long distance communication relays among groups and individual crows had been discovered in recent years as well. (Or perhaps an old guy had told me about it in recent years...)

Then there is the raven, when the air is still and a raven does a low flyby you can hear it rip through the air and feel its spirit pass by. There is something about these all-black (incredibly so - every exposed tissue) birds, the Native American lore fits very naturally.

In general, I am always amazed that people are surprised by observation of sentient behaviour in animals. I think it is a sort of self preservation mechanism in carnivores and omnivores; it is probably best not to dwell on the thoughts of your meal for too long lest you lose your appetite, yet to treat a kill with respect and reverence is a further abstraction of the process, and where we are falling down ourselves.

Viewing the reasons for the interest in such stories conversely, perhaps it is the case that most people feel the way I do and believe that all life is intelligent, self-aware and creative, just in varying degrees according to the complexity of the organism and it confirms our beliefs to see the results of such animal behaviour studies.

It is corny, but to me, in cases where the animal is complex enough to have "eyes", they truly are the window to the soul. Even a scallop with it's light sensitive organs and delicate structures affects me differently than a mussel. The compound eyes of arthropods/insects are quite alien and don't seem to provide as much feedback as the eyes of birds and mammals. Of course forward stereo vision provides the most feedback to us. (I was horrified when I made eye contact with a male silverback gorilla in a big city zoo - it was painfully sad and angry.)

There is something freaky about the thought of two(four) light sensitive organs connected to sentient processing focused on each other. I'm trying to think of an electronic analogy, but I don't think there is one...

Anyway, I'm rambling... but it makes me happy to see these stories. :)

Offline toasty0

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2009, 08:46:29 am »
Meat Is Murder
tasty, tasty, murder
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Offline Lepton

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2009, 11:31:31 am »
Meat Is Murder
tasty, tasty, murder
You really are that stupid, aren't you?  Weigh your remarks against the thoughtfulness of Bonk's self-deprecating remarks and the remarks of others in this thread and see if you think you've made a useful contribution here.


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Offline toasty0

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2009, 06:38:49 pm »
Meat Is Murder
tasty, tasty, murder
You really are that stupid, aren't you?  Weigh your remarks against the thoughtfulness of Bonk's self-deprecating remarks and the remarks of others in this thread and see if you think you've made a useful contribution here.


What're you trying to pretend to be now Lepton, the board of standards--going to censor the forum for us now? Why do you care so much what I do or post? You're obsession with me is starting to border on the creepy...

 
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2009, 08:13:17 pm »
Meat Is Murder
tasty, tasty, murder
You really are that stupid, aren't you?  Weigh your remarks against the thoughtfulness of Bonk's self-deprecating remarks and the remarks of others in this thread and see if you think you've made a useful contribution here.

Lepton knock off the personal attacks.  You should know better by now.

As I read Toasty's comment he was trying to be funny. 

You criticize Toasty for not contributing to the discussion but all you are contributing are flames.  How about a positive on topic posting?
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Offline FA Frey XC

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2009, 10:37:45 pm »
However, weighing in on the topic at hand, Toasty's comment was remarkably thoughtless and provoking.

While I agree that personal attacks are not needed, stirring the pot comments such as these are not needed either.

Consider yourself warned as well, Toasty.

I honestly wonder sometimes why I haven't just re-banned you.

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Offline marstone

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2009, 10:58:59 pm »
However, weighing in on the topic at hand, Toasty's comment was remarkably thoughtless and provoking.

While I agree that personal attacks are not needed, stirring the pot comments such as these are not needed either.

Consider yourself warned as well, Toasty.

I honestly wonder sometimes why I haven't just re-banned you.

Regards,

I took his comment as an off hand comment on the monkeys.

But guess each read things differently.

Summer might just be getting alittle to long I guess.
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Offline toasty0

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2009, 08:50:25 am »
However, weighing in on the topic at hand, Toasty's comment was remarkably thoughtless and provoking.

While I agree that personal attacks are not needed, stirring the pot comments such as these are not needed either.

Consider yourself warned as well, Toasty.

I honestly wonder sometimes why I haven't just re-banned you.

Regards,

Warned for what?! Who did I demean or insult?

What I posted was funny and should have been seen as nothing other than funny and innocuous. It was NOT directed at Bonk!

Bonk did not post anyting self-deprecating, imho. That's implies something about Bonk's post I seriously disagree with. He shared, but it was not self-deprecating. I did not mock Bonk and anyone who thinks I did can kiss my keyboard.

marstone understood. Yes, maybe I could have posted why I think it is dangerous to romanticize "animal intelligence", and especially primate behaviour, instead I chose to encapsulate it with a bit 'o humor in 10 words or less. That Lepton tried to characterize my post as anything more is beyond me. That you agree with Lepton surprises me.

I have followed the rules Frey. I have also posted very little here lately (past several months) with the exception of posting an occasional joke or jest or something in engineering that I thought would be helpful to some members--of which Lepton continues to belittle at any opportunity.

Want me to leave Frey just hit me up on IM. Tell me the same way you invited me back. I'll miss some of the gang here, but hell, I don't want to be an unwanted guest in your house.

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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2009, 09:36:25 am »
I was the thread hijacker here. Toasty's reply gave me a chuckle, it indicated he understood the nut of what I was saying. Everybody just chill.

The study of animal behaviour is fascinating. Lets get back to discussing that, sorry if I led us astray.

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2009, 09:59:48 am »
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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2009, 10:10:22 am »
... all that said, I'm going to merrily continue with my thread hijack anyway,  ;D this is as close as it will get to on topic anyway... perhaps it deserves it's own thread but...

Yesterday I came across this:
Quote
"In England, a law was recently introduced making it illegal to sell anything but free-range chickens in grocery stores. The entire industry has had to change. But it took years of consumer pressure to move the government’s hand."

http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2009/08/07/f-seafood.html

I think it is time we did the same... This was reinforced in me as yesterday I also watched a good portion of the Julia Child special on PBS/WGBH. What really struck me was when she had all the types/ages of market chicken of the day all lined up. The 6 Lb roaster she selected was 5-9 months old. She instructed on how to age a carcass by the flexibility and development of the lower breastbone. She also made mention of growth hormones and how to detect what she called a "fake, puffed-up chicken".

I have not been able to eat commercial north american chicken for quite some time. I used to be able to back when it tasted and felt like real meat. I'd like to be able to eat chicken again. I expect I am not the only one, as seafood consumption seems to have risen sharply in recent years, and when you look at the ubiquity of "chickenoid" products in our diet it is really amazing how it is everywhere. Phood farms... we need to get rid of them. We need to speak out as consumers and ... <insert "mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore" routine here>

Now the chicken is not the brightest bird, but I expect that is largely due to environment and domesticated genetics. Nevertheless, if it has a reasonably good quality of life for the short time it has and is killed with respect, I guarantee it will taste better, it will taste like the chicken we remember eating as children.

The same way that consumers have embraced the concept of "fair trade coffee", we need to make similar allowances for domestic meat production, especially considering the scale of consumption we are dealing with.  Moderation and old fashioned values are needed here, the concepts of kosher, halal are sort of missing in western culture, I think we should embrace the Native American philosophy of respect for meat consumption, it is appropriate to our location.

Sorry for ranting again, but I expect at least a few of you enjoy them.  :)

Offline toasty0

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2009, 10:19:46 am »
I'd be interested to know how this would affect the economies of cost for the end consumer. Would banning the assemblyline chicken production so drive up the cost as to make a staple like chicken for lower income families unaffordable?
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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2009, 11:15:44 am »
Well, a higher price is sort of implied, but if we went back to more local production, where possible, instead of huge farms and processing facilities to minimise costs and maximise profits, cutting out middlemen and creating more income and local employment in the production of a value added product would result in a net improvement in economic health from a local perspective.

Mass production works for some things, meat is not one of them.

Another counter to that question is that I expect if you look at north American obesity stats as related to income you will find that reduction of excessive protein, fat and hormone/antibiotic consumption may actually effect an improvement in the health of the economic classes you might expect would experience adverse effects.

And I think it's pretty bad when I can't even eat the stuff. Should we be feeding that to anyone? (regardless of income)

We tread on the political here, so ultimately my primary interest in the subject is selfish and is related to taste, quality dining experience and nutrition. I just miss the old fashioned roast chicken that was so tasty.

Offline Sirgod

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2009, 12:31:23 pm »
I swear I am going to have to get you all down here one day. I gave up on commercial beef, and now only raise them to sell at auction. Let someone else have that headache.

My cows though, are pretty much free range. They run a circuit through the whole place, only to return to the front about 5.

A few years back, the wife wanted to get into Chickens. (this was before we had the big place here.) anyways, They where insane. The amount of time spent trying to raise those things, and then turn around and kill, clean and freeze them I'll never do it again. (For one reason, Because I hate chicken with every fiber of my body. I would rather Dine with Ira Einhart in France, on cabbage leaves smothered in a fat ladies sweat, then eat chicken.)

As for Toasty, man I took it as a joke also. What with him knowing what I do for a living.

Stephen
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2009, 05:55:04 pm »
Back closer to the original topic.

Link to full article

Quote
They have also compiled a list of the most intelligent and least intelligent breeds using information from obedience classes. Border collies and retrievers were rated among the most intelligent while hounds and terriers were the least bright.

"The average dog is about as bright linguistically as a human two-year-old," said Professor Stanley Coren, a leading expert on canine intelligence at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver who has carried out the work.

"This means they can understand about 165 words, signs and signals. Those in the top 20 per cent were able to understand as many as 250 words and signals, which is about the same as a two and a half year old.


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Offline toasty0

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2009, 06:05:00 pm »
Excellent! Another 50 words I'll make the top 20%.

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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2009, 06:47:57 am »
Excellent! Another 50 words I'll make the top 20%.

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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2009, 07:06:19 am »
Link to full article

Quote
The scientists' findings push back the origins of culturally transmitted behavior to 14 million years ago, when orangutans first evolved from their more primitive primate ancestors. Previous evidence for cultural transmission in chimpanzees suggested an origin of cultural traits 7 million years ago.


Quote
In an article in the Jan. 3, 2003, Science, the scientists presented evidence for cultural transmission of 24 behaviors. These include:

-- using leaves as protective gloves or napkins;

-- using sticks to poke into tree holes to obtain insects, to extract seeds from fruit or to scratch body parts;

-- using leafy branches to swat insects or gather water;

-- "snag-riding," the orangutan equivalent of a sport in which the animals ride falling dead trees, grabbing vegetation before the tree hits the ground;

-- emitting sounds such as "raspberries," or "kiss-squeaks," in which leaves or hands are used to amplify the sound;

-- building sun covers for nests or, during rain, bunk nests above the nests used for resting.


Quote
For instance, they found that while orangutans on one side of a barrier river used tools on the fruit, those on the other did not


Quote
"However, we saw that habitat did not have a significant impact on similarity of these behaviors," said van Schaik. "And our confidence that we were seeing cultural transmission was increased by analyses showing that proximate sites showed more behavioral similarity than distant sites.
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Offline Corbomite

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2009, 07:57:13 am »
More and more animals have been observed to make limited use of tools.

There are two things that I don't believe animals have been observed to do with tools:

1/ Keeping and maintaining a tool for future use.


Wouldn't beavers fall into this category? Also there is a species of ant that herds and maintains aphids like cattle to get their honeydew so the ants have to provide ideal conditions for the aphids to live in so they are happy and produce. In the broad sense, I believe one can use one's environment as a tool (or at least it's help). I know we do to many extents.



2/ Making tools specifically for the purpose of making other tools in the future.

Ant and termite mounds may qualify for this as they are a multi-use structure with general and specific areas which cannot survive alone and are designed with future problems or tasks "in mind".



The "Meat is Murder" part of our population has always intrigued me. We seem to be the only predator who commiserates with our prey. I've never seen a lion feel bad about running down a zebra or saw a pod of killer whales decide after three hours of attacking and trying to drown a grey whale calf while it's mother watched helplessly to suddenly feel bad about it and break off.

About three million years ago, Mother Nature decided to a bit of a bitch and dried up our food supply. This caused us to come down from our trees into a much nastier habitat. We stood up, learned to scavenge meat protein from other predator's kills and our brains grew because of it, enabling tool use and, eventually, the insight to keep those tools for future use. That led to hunting fresh game and even more protein and so on. Simply put, meat made us what we are today.

Now, that is not to say that we haven't gone too far in the husbandry direction. Livestock factories appall me. I feel we should give a bit of respect for our feed animals as they are giving their lives to feed us and I think they deserve a pleasant life (such as it is) for that sacrifice. I would pay more for my meat if I knew that they had the best life possble before slaughter and they would probably taste better too. Husbandry is the ultimate survival tool, but we have abused it.









Offline marstone

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2009, 08:32:16 am »
don't forget about the ants that are farmers.  The leaf cutter ants, they cut leaves and bring them back to the nest.  They then grow fungii on the leaves.

Ants as a collective are awesome, but no, I wouldn't say that their nest is a tool for condition 2.
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Offline Corbomite

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2009, 08:48:33 am »
don't forget about the ants that are farmers.  The leaf cutter ants, they cut leaves and bring them back to the nest.  They then grow fungii on the leaves.

Ants as a collective are awesome, but no, I wouldn't say that their nest is a tool for condition 2.

So collective tool use doesn't count?

Offline Sirgod

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2009, 11:36:31 am »
going back to what Bonk had mentioned about free range chickens.

One of the reasons why Denny (the wife) wanted chickens, is that the feed store, had to stop selling there eggs. Man they where good also, Brown eggs, 50 cents a dozen, etc. etc. But because the Government hadn't put there stamp of approval on them, It forced the consumer to go to the store and buy eggs at $1.50 a dozen.

--------------

BOT. It is interesting about animals and there tool use. Are they just slowly Evolving to the point where they are using tools, or have we just been catching up with observational Tech, that we are noticing these things for the first time?

Stephen
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Offline Czar Mohab

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2009, 05:49:06 pm »
My favorite smart bird would have to be the sea gull. They take their shelled prey (muscle, crab, etc.) high in the air and - bombs away! - drop it on the pavement below. If that isn't enough, they'll drop rocks on it, too, before finally cracking it all the way open with their bill or another rock held in their mouth.

They do occasionally use the rocks themselves as a drop-target, but they always seemed to prefer the pavement; most of the pier was littered with broken shells and crab carcasses.

But the beauty of it is - since they would use the pavement, we humans would be the ones maintaining their tool!

The sea gulls' favorite day was when the drydock was drained after a boat went in or out - aside from the occasional unfortunate harbor seal, there would almost always be a crapload of fish in the bottom. The last two feet or so of water would be writhing with fish - and birds eating said fish. The only minus point for sea gull intelligence is that they would eat so bloody much that they would have to puke and or poop out enough weight to be able to fly back out of the drydock.

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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2009, 06:17:48 pm »
I once saw a seagull, being harassed by other gulls and wary of people, wolf down a live rock crab that was at least four inches across in one gulp. It made a very uncomfortable looking lump in its throat. Other gulls chased it around as it choked it down and to my amazement flew off.  :o

Offline Panzergranate

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2009, 04:24:35 pm »
Well Crows and Ravens and all the other Corvids have had that 65 million years since the big rock fell on the Dinosaurs plus the time before that to develop brain power.

I have had a Carrion Crow as a family pet for 5 years now.

Basically, think of dog with feathers and a beak but with a smarter brain. Like dogs they need to be petted and made a fuss of contray to the image normally attributed to them.

Crows and Ravens hate cats even more than dogs and are responsible for more feline vermin than dogs in the UK.

Unlike Hitcock's film "The Bird" protrayed, Crows and Ravens can't peck but instead kil prey (or cats) with a bite through the side of the neck..... and they have a very powerful bite. Our pet Crow "Bl;ackie" can crinch  through a chicken leg bone like it was whacked with mallet.

Despite our pet Crow "Blackie" being blind, he spends all day doing Crow business in the back garden durimg the day (sunbathing, eating, yelling, interacting with family members) and is very active.

He undersatnds questions starting with the phrase,  "Do you want....". Also he understands "Left", "Right"", "Up", "Down", etc.

He's also devised a mime system, all by himself, to tell people what he wants or needs.

Crows and Humans are the only creatures on the planet that fabricate tools for a specific task from other materials. Crows are also the only creatures with a complex language structure.

Only Crows and Humans can recognise that a reflection in a mirror is themselves.

Carrion Crows all over the world are of the same species worldwide, unlike any other creature on the planet.

Carrion Crows originated and spread out from Australia after the end of the last ice age between 6,000 to 7.000 years ago.

The US Carrion Crow is exactly the same species as the UK, European, Asian, African and any other Carrion Crow found around the world.

 
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Offline Corbomite

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #30 on: August 21, 2009, 04:52:57 pm »
Only Crows and Humans can recognise that a reflection in a mirror is themselves.


This is true of elephants as well.

Offline knightstorm

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2009, 04:58:34 pm »
Only Crows and Humans can recognise that a reflection in a mirror is themselves.


This is true of elephants as well.

as well as other higher primates

Offline Sirgod

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2009, 10:20:52 pm »
My wife and I was having an odd laugh tonight over some pictures of our now (oldest) boston Terrier.

not sure if it constitutes Tool use or not, But numerous times, when we used to go Camping, we would give Gruntie Gentle, some cheetos

Now she would keep them in her mouth and look into the trees for squirrels. When she would see afew, she would crawl to the tree, and bury them, then sit back and wait. When  one of them came down, she would pounce.

Now she could have just been hiding them like all dogs do, But she never ate cheetos at home. It was like she had a plan, and was deliberately baiting them.

Stephen
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Offline Panzergranate

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2009, 03:03:42 pm »
Er.... actually not true of higher primates. It has been demonstrated that Chimpansies regard mirror reflections as being another Chimpanse and not themselves. They have to be taught that a reflection of themselves are indeed themselves.

It also took a a Crow, in a lab, 10 seconds to figure out a food in a pulley wheel bucket problem. Conversely, a Chimp took over 3 hours to figure out that he had to pull down on the string to raise the bucket out of the tube.

A Cat, when presented by the same problem, just played with the string thus proving that Cats are incredibly stupid. :laugh:

One thing with pet Crows is that they love and need to be petted by family members to feel accepted. During the late summer maulting period, Crows mutually preen each other where they can't reach themselves, under the chin and the back of the neck.

Crows are incredibally soppy creatures when it come to being made a fuss of and are incredibly gentle birds.... only Crows and Ravens will sit on a human hands with their tallons open as they know that they could cause injury closed. You don't need to wear gloves tocarry a Crow or Raven.

As with Covids and Parakeets, they can also learn to talk, if they feel inclinded to.

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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2009, 01:43:01 pm »
Link to full article

Quote
Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror, joining only humans, apes and dolphins as animals that possess this kind of self-awareness, researchers now report.
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Offline Sirgod

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2009, 03:04:54 pm »
Interesting Nem.

BTW, Haven't seen you for a few days man, all ok?

Stephen
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #36 on: September 07, 2009, 03:53:32 pm »
Interesting Nem.

BTW, Haven't seen you for a few days man, all ok?

Stephen

I'm fine.  Sidetracked for a few days doing other things, both on and offline. 
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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #37 on: September 08, 2009, 05:52:54 am »
I was watching crows in a parking lot yesterday, soaking breadcrusts in puddles, while pigeons bobbed mindlessly about. It struck me that the crow's head is larger in proprtion to the body than the pigeons or some starlings that were zipping by.

I wonder if it measures up? There is a brain to body mass ratio theory of intelligence (already mentioned?). I wonder how crows fit in such a measure:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain-to-body_mass_ratio
There is a good chart of it somewhere (perhaps a figure in "The Naked Ape"?).

Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #38 on: September 08, 2009, 06:49:50 am »
Some of the things I've read seem to indicate that the avian brain may well be better wired for intelligence than than the mammalian brain.  The need for light weight while still being able to handle rapid movement in 3 dimensions could have driven evolution further for avian brains than for mammals which don't have quite the same pressures for performance vs weight.

Some consider that apes have their larger brains due to the need for the same reason as the birds have efficient brains - 3 dimensional movement.  Without of course the same extreme pressure on low weight.  This is then extended to humans with prehumans taking up stone throwing for defense/offense using the same "advanced" brain capability that evolved for arboreal use.  Over time of course these prehumans evolved/developed other uses for that brain "circuitry", speech and tool making for example and the brain continued evolving more capability.
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Offline Panzergranate

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #39 on: September 14, 2009, 12:45:28 pm »
The avian brain doesn't have to deal with a sense of smell.... birds can't smell at all.

This does free up a lot of brain runtime for visual processing.... birds have a far superiour and faster image processing rate than humans and other mammals.

For instance an average Hawk processes images, from the eye, at over 25 frames per second. By comparison, we process at 4 per second. A Hawk can see the flicker in a TV screen or cinema projection, a Human sees no such flicker.

Also the Human eye cannot see a common Hover Fly (the world's fastest life form) move or even its 127 beats per second wings moving. To a Human eye, the Hover Fly appears to disapear and reappear from one place to another. To a bird it is visible throughout its movement.

The other sense that birds have that we lack is the inbuilt Earth magnetic field anmaly sense. Our pet Crow, "B;lackie", is blind (detached retinas and catarachs). Despite this he manages to navigate his way with uncanny precission around the large back garden, cache food in precisely the same spot and orientate when placed anywhere in the garden. However, if taken out of the garden he is completely lost and waits for help.

Also, when a large number of the Human population can't figure out their left from right, "Blackie" the Crow definately knows his left from right as he responds to directions from me when he has a supervised flyi around. He isn't a strong flyer as he spends 99.9% of his time on the ground, but occasionally lets it be known that he wants to have a go.

He also understands tha the phrase,t "Do you want...." is offering him a choice of something and a question. Crows, being fussy and fincky eatters, will eat something one day and refuse to eat it another. Blackie recognises the association of the names with various foods and if I reel through the list he'll stretch his neck up with the beak upwards with a look of interest to acknowledge that's what he wants to eat.

There are times that I appear to be talking to a petulant child when I'mtelling the bird, "What's wrong with that.... you were quite happy to eat that earlier today / yesterday".

Blackie has also devised a mime system to ask for things, which at present, is to have his head, neck and throat vigorously rubbed with a finger as he is in malt and can't scratch there himself properly.

Watching a Crow throwing a tantrum is quite amusing. Crows bellow like a rutting Stag when angry, pick up things and throw them around and look ready to pick a fight. Watching a Cat being chased by a blind Crow around the garden is even more amusing though Cats do have an instictive recognision of which birds not to mess with.

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Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #40 on: September 14, 2009, 02:26:15 pm »
For instance an average Hawk processes images, from the eye, at over 25 frames per second. By comparison, we process at 4 per second. A Hawk can see the flicker in a TV screen or cinema projection, a Human sees no such flicker.

Some humans. I can see 60 Hz no problem, for me noticeable flicker fades out at about 85 Hz. 25-30Hz? Horrifying.

Quote
The avian brain doesn't have to deal with a sense of smell.... birds can't smell at all.

This does free up a lot of brain runtime for visual processing.... birds have a far superiour and faster image processing rate than humans and other mammals.

Wow, birds can't smell? The olfactory center is tied to the "reptilian" (limbic(?)) brain no?

Fast visual processing no doubt, I was thinking that very thing the other day as I watched a sparrow pluck a moth out of the air with blinding speed.  Must see about 3x as fast as I do.. though I would not be surprised if bird vision is optimised for the task as with other predators. Reducing the "bandwidth" should make it easier to process. In analogy to the auditory processing of bats.

Being omnivores scavengers and generally freaks of nature humans seem to have a very generalised broadband vision system that requires commensurate processing time.

For predators like birds I imagine that visual processing places the emphasis on edge detection and movement. Some of this visual optimisation has been demonstrated to occur at the cellular level in the retina itself. I recall reading this stuff in a story on modelling the retina in silicon.

I still find it surprising that birds do not smell (use their olfactory equipment). I assume you are familiar with Ernst Haeckel's Biogenetic Law: "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". While refuted (as expressed by Haeckel) by most modern biologists, there is unquestionably something to it. What do you think?

I love your stories about Blackie. :thumbsup:

Offline Corbomite

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #41 on: September 14, 2009, 04:08:10 pm »
Birds have olfactory nerves and some species smell quite well. Turkey Vultures, for instance, can find food from miles away that they can't see. Funny thing is, their close cousins, Black Vultures and the California Condor (carrion eaters as well) can't smell well at all and depend on sight. They even follow Turkey Vultures to food sometimes because they know that the Turkey Vultures can smell it.

Offline Panzergranate

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #42 on: September 22, 2009, 12:22:44 pm »
Birds don't have long nasal pasages needed for smell, instead having basiclly beak mounted air intakes to maximise Oxygen intake for muscle power in flight.

I've discovered that Blackie does have a pronounced sense of taste and can discern his favorite food stuffs from amongst food stuffs he's OK with and stuff he really hates such as Carrots.

If all his food is mixed up he will taste test around his bowl until he knows what he has before him and then pick out his favorites. In some instances he will pick out and place secondary favorite food items into his water bowl and eat his primary favorite items first as he goes. He will also prepare and mix up favorite food items in one place and eat them in a set order.

Remeber that Blackie is virtually blind.

One of his rare treats is a Bourbon biscuit. He will pull it apart, carefully spend half an hour breaking off and eating the biscuit parts before finishing off the centre filling last.

Crows willalways try to wash their food before eating so water has to always be provided. If Blackie has no water in his water bowl he will make a big point about this to whoever is feeding him, usually by standing with food in his beak in the empty bowl to emphasise the point that it is empty.

Crows and Ravens are rated as the second most intelligent creatures on the planet, next to Humans, with an average IQ of 100 (george Bush scored 81 in his National Guard IQ test!!). 

Crows are the only other creature, apart from Humans, who will fabricate a tool for a specific job. They will bend wire into hooks, cut barbs into twigs to fish for termites, etc.

They will also study a problem before tackling it.

One interesting point is that if I click the breach of a rifle even from across the garden, he will immediately duck and cover. Perhaps an inbred instictive response.

Blackie has aquired an understudy in the form of a juvenile wild Crow (1 year old) who is extremely interested in how Blackie relates to Humans, or rather, has control over Humans so that they feed, preen, shelter and communicate with him.

This young Crow even lands and wanders over to withing 3 feet of me so long as Blackie is either on my hand or at my feet.

He's still a bit jumpy but is slowly realising that he's OK and will probally end up as confident as Blackie's wild Wood Pidgeon "Minder", who wades in and fights with any Magpies, Crows, etc. that pick on Blackie. They've been friends for 4 years now.

Generally, all the wild animal that seems to think that they should be treated as occasional pets are refered to as "Domestic Wildlife". Some think it is OK to attempt to venture into the house from time to time as with the Fox Vixen we had for 3 years many years ago. She'd had enough of being wild and decided that life living with Humans like a Dog was better. Access to Chocolate may have also been a reason too.

One of the most unusual roles in my life was to unexpectantly have to baby sit wild Fox cubs whilst their mother lounged around in a neighbour's garden for a few hours. Anyone familiar with puppies will know that they will investigate, chew , pee and end up in all kinds of trouble and Fox cubs, being a branch of the Canine tree, behave just the same way.

The Vixen wasn't a pet, she just lived with us and treated us as being part of her pack. At night she would go out and sit on the front lawn keeping picket. In the evenings she would go for walks with my father, leading the way (I have pictures) and during the day she would lounge around the house or garden.

Foxes communicate using posture and body language. For instance sitting down a distance from a stranger, yawning and showing fiened disinterest by staring off at right angles to another creature, at some inmaginary point of interest is a Fox's way of making friendly overtures. The sitting is to demonstrate thate it is not frightened, the yawn is to display an ability to defend itself and the fiened disinterest is to show that it is not planning any hostile moves.

Mimicing the same actions and staring in the same direction at the same general direction of the imaginary point of interest will have the Fox wander over and sit down and sit down very close and then both parties will continue to stare at theimaginary point of interest for a while until the Fox is assured that it is safe. After that the Fox will be friendly and trusting.

I've done it with other wild Foxes and they respond in the same way, are intrigued and move closer. I've had one sniff my hand on one occasion.

I've always been able to tame wild animals within a few minutes, they just seem to like me for some reason.

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Offline knightstorm

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #43 on: September 22, 2009, 12:53:37 pm »
(george Bush scored 81 in his National Guard IQ test!!). 




Please don't clutter the forum with partisan junk e-mails

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/24/politics/campaign/24points.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print&position=
Quote
October 24, 2004
POLITICAL POINTS
Secret Weapon for Bush?
By JOHN TIERNEY

To Bush-bashers, it may be the most infuriating revelation yet from the military records of the two presidential candidates: the young George W. Bush probably had a higher I.Q. than did the young John Kerry.

That, at least, is the conclusion of Steve Sailer, a conservative columnist at the Web magazine Vdare.com and a veteran student of presidential I.Q.'s. During the last presidential campaign Mr. Sailer estimated from Mr. Bush's SAT score (1206) that his I.Q. was in the mid-120's, about 10 points lower than Al Gore's.

Mr. Kerry's SAT score is not known, but now Mr. Sailer has done a comparison of the intelligence tests in the candidates' military records. They are not formal I.Q. tests, but Mr. Sailer says they are similar enough to make reasonable extrapolations.

Mr. Bush's score on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test at age 22 again suggests that his I.Q was the mid-120's, putting Mr. Bush in about the 95th percentile of the population, according to Mr. Sailer. Mr. Kerry's I.Q. was about 120, in the 91st percentile, according to Mr. Sailer's extrapolation of his score at age 22 on the Navy Officer Qualification Test.

Linda Gottfredson, an I.Q. expert at the University of Delaware, called it a creditable analysis said she was not surprised at the results or that so many people had assumed that Mr. Kerry was smarter. "People will often be misled into thinking someone is brighter if he says something complicated they can't understand," Professor Gottfredson said.

Many Americans still believe a report that began circulating on the Internet three years ago, and was quoted in "Doonesbury," that Mr. Bush's I.Q. was 91, the lowest of any modern American president. But that report from the non-existent Lovenstein Institute turned out to be a hoax.

You might expect Kerry campaign officials, who have worried that their candidate's intellectual image turns off voters, to quickly rush out a commercial trumpeting these new results, but for some reason they seem to be resisting the temptation.

Upon hearing of their candidate's score, Michael Meehan, a spokesman for the senator, said merely: "The true test is not where you start out in life, but what you do with those God-given talents. John Kerry's 40 years of public service puts him in the top percentile on that measure."

« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 04:19:21 pm by knightstorm »

Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #44 on: September 22, 2009, 02:23:41 pm »
Um, whatever, back to crows...

I was telling my Grandmother about Blackie and she told me the following story:

"Have you ever heard of a Parliament of crows?", was how she began relating the tale. She described a friend of hers had been watching crows gather in a few of the tall elms on her street. Once several hundred had arrived, one bird was singled out on the ground while the others remained in the trees. It did not flee. One of the birds left the elm and dove on the one crow singled out on the ground and struck it. Then, en masse, they all dove on it and pecked it to death. Then they all just left once it was dead. An execution? An infection? I have to wonder why. It was an interesting story.

Crows have been known to mass in the (tens of) thousands in this region. The resulting cacophony can be quite a disturbance to nearby residents.
http://www.trurodaily.com/index.cfm?sid=228013&sc=518
...interesting, I had not realised they stopped coming. I wonder if there is any meaning to the change? Where are they convening now?

edit: ah, this makes sense, massing prior to migration:
https://listserv.unb.ca/cgi-bin/wa?A2=naturenb;y6Ok9A;199709301956430300e
But wait, I see them here in winter too.  :huh:

another interesting story about crows in NS:
http://www.mysticraven.net/lilys_pad/pages/News/halifax_crows.html
Interesting, that tale mentions they fear great owls. I only ever saw live wild great owls once, pair of them. Got to within about 30 feet before they got ancy. According to native lore it is a good omen to see an owl. It was.

I suspect why they were massing in the Annapolis Valley might be related to the previously common practice for the poultry famers to throw their dead chickens out in the feilds to draw bald eagles for the tourists. Often hundreds (dozens) of bald eagles would mass in the area as well. I know from up close experience that crows and bald eagles in particular seem to have considerably animosity between them. The crows will relentlessly harass them, but will not attack.

I also have a very close relationship with animals and can often approach wild animals quite closely. Could pretty much snatch a grouse from a tree or approach deer to within 10 feet without any food offerings - they are most skittish. They tend to be drawn to me though, usually in family groups of five. I would have been a charm in a Mi'kmaq tribe. Perhaps I was. It is almost all body language, but the eye as a window to the soul is as true for animals as for man as far as I am concerned. Though eye contact must be used very judiciously with some animals, it can be percieved as a threat.

I think it is a question of being very observant, but there is something more to it. A certain je ne sais quoi.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 02:45:44 pm by Bonk »

Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #45 on: September 22, 2009, 02:50:55 pm »
Quote
Facts About Crows

    * Crows are found on every continent except Antarctica.
    * Crows have an exceptional ability to remember and pick a single human face out of a crowd.
    * Crows are far more likely to be found living close to cities and suburbs than out in the country.
    * Each generation of crows is capable of building on an earlier generation's knowledge.
    * New Caledonian crows are one of only three species, besides human, in the world capable of making tools.
    * Crows live with a mated pair, their kids, and offspring from previous years in an extended family.
    * Crows have different warning calls - one for cats, and one for hawks, and another for humans - 250 in all.
    * Crows are omnivores and eat fruits, vegetables and meat.


http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/natureofthings/2009/murderofcrows/director.html

I'm looking for film of the huge numbers that used to mass in the valley...

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2009/04/15/ravens.html  :o  I never was sure about those flatland folks. Kill a raven?

Another pet crow story:
http://birds.suite101.com/article.cfm/ralph__an_unforgettable_pet_crow

still no sign of the video of the mass murder of crows in the valley...  :(
« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 03:07:16 pm by Bonk »

Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #46 on: September 22, 2009, 03:26:40 pm »
Still haven't found it, but I did find this very cool story:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGPGknpq3e0[/youtube]

Offline Nemesis

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #47 on: September 22, 2009, 07:56:02 pm »
:police: Keep the political stuff in Hot and Spicy :police:

Computer things, Science and Technology here.

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Offline knightstorm

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #48 on: September 23, 2009, 02:17:51 pm »
Quoth the raven, Never more

Offline Panzergranate

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #49 on: October 04, 2009, 10:15:55 am »
It seems that Blackie may have attracted a friend in the form of a young Crow. Juveniles spend a year with their parents or other relatives learning Crow business and other things before being expected to find food for themselves.

The Juvanile in question is becoming quite tame and will wander over to within 6 feet of me so long as Blackie is next to me and is intrigued to discover how Blackie has managed to have Humans feed, preen and look after him.

Blackie doesn't seem to mind the other Crow and they've even ate ffod from Blackie's food bowl next to the backdoor at the same time head to head. Normally Blackie is extremely teritorial and will bellow, threaten and chase off the majority of Crows he realises are stealing his food or in his garden.

He does tollerate some Crows though and we suspect are his immediate relatives and parents. Crows have similar family structures to Humans and it is not uncommon for older siblings and close relations to raise orphaned Crow chicks, hence why they will quickly bond with any Humans that take them in.

We kind of suspect that the young Crow is female as it doesn't mind being in touching contact with Blackie and he doesn't mind this happening.

It isn't around every day, just in the mornings though sometimes it will appear during the day and wonder over and take interest in what I'm doing if I'm working on a motorcycle or doing something in the garden. It seems to want to be friendly and is trying to figure out how Blackie is able to communicate so profitably with Humans, etc.

As for Crow parliments, we have had one only a few days ago in the trees nearby. However, it seemed to be more of a family or clan gathering with all the Crows, including Blackie yelling out, "Here I am!!" and other territorial calls for about an hour. It was probally a show of numbers to ward off some invading group.

Scientists have figured out that Crows use complex inflections in their various calls  to convey information and listening to Blackie holding an apparent conversation with some distant Crow in the woods or field nearby. If you listen to a series of Crow "Caws" you'll notice that the endings varies between each one, which is where scientists have determined conveys the message.

It is more akin to a computer data packet. So far one study group has discovered that there is a distinct difference between the general warning call for a Human approaching and a Human carrying a gun approaching. It is a totally different system to how we talk.

It'll probally take a compuer to figure out how it works.

The Klingons have many ways to fry a cat. I prefer to use an L7 Fast Battlecruiser!!

Offline Bonk

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #50 on: February 28, 2010, 03:34:40 am »
Look what I found today:
http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/The_Nature_of_Things/ID=1385855962
Quote
A Murder of Crows
A rare and intimate glimpse into the inner life of one of the most intelligent, playful and mischievous species on the planet.

 8)

The intro talked about human facial recognition in crows and as a teaser mentioned what is interesting is what they do with it! Must watch to find out!  ;D

14:57 - wow!

edit: I'm not sure I like the newer show format. David used to be on camera in the show and involved (more Discovery's style now). Now it kinda feels like any old science show with David Suzuki doing the voice over.  :-\
« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 04:29:58 am by Bonk »

Offline Sirgod

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Re: Rooks and fables
« Reply #51 on: February 28, 2010, 09:49:56 am »
Cool Bonk! I'll give this a look see here this afternoon.

Stephen
"You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth - and the amusing thing about it is that they are."- Father Kevin Keaney, Chaplain, Korean War