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Thread: Crows And Jays Top Bird IQ Scale (Paul Rincon)

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    Post Crows And Jays Top Bird IQ Scale (Paul Rincon)

    Crows and jays are the brain boxes of the bird world, according to a Canadian scientist who has invented a method of measuring avian IQ.

    The IQ scale is based on the number of novel feeding behaviours shown by birds in the wild.

    The test's creator Dr Louis Lefebvre was surprised that parrots were not high in the pecking order - despite their relatively large brains.

    The research was presented at a major science conference in Washington DC.

    Feeding innovations

    The avian intelligence index is based on 2,000 reports of feeding "innovations" observed in the wild and published in ornithology journals over a period of 75 years.

    "We gathered as many examples as we could from the short notes of ornithology journals about the feeding behaviours that people had never seen or were unusual," said Dr Lefebvre, of McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

    "From that we established different numbers for different birds. There are differences. There are some kinds of birds that score higher than others.

    "The crows, the jays, that kind of bird - the corvidae - are the tops; then the falcons are second, the hawks the herons and the woodpecker rank quite high."

    Dr Lefebvre said that many of the novel feeding behaviours he included in the work were mundane, but every once in a while, birds could be spectacularly inventive about obtaining their food.

    During the war of liberation in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, a soldier and avid bird watcher observed vultures sitting on barbwire fences next to mine fields waiting for gazelles and other herbivores to wander in and get blown to smithereens.

    "It gave them a meal that was already ground up," said Dr Lefebvre.

    "The observer mentioned that once in a while a vulture was caught at its own game and got blown up on a mine."

    Milk thief

    Another bird watcher observed a great skua in the Antarctic who joined in with seal pups feeding on the milk from their mother.

    Many of the birds that ranked high on the innovation scale are the least popular with the public.

    "When you look at published reports on whether people like birds or don't like birds, they don't correlate well with intelligence," said the McGill researcher.

    "People tend not to like crows, because they have this fiendish look to them and they're black and they like dead prey. Warblers and the birds that people tend to like are not the high innovators."

    But Dr Lefebvre said the scale did not measure how smart birds were, only how "innovative".

    "With the word 'smart' you have to have a value judgment. You can never know whether a bird has been learning by observation or has figured something out by itself."

    The work was presented to the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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    Post Re: Crows and jays top bird IQ scale (Paul Rincon)

    Crows are quite intelligent. Alot of people (idiots) in Australia rather detest this beautiful bird. People complain that they are too noisy.

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    Post Re: Crows and jays top bird IQ scale (Paul Rincon)

    Quote Originally Posted by Skadi Ju87
    Crows are quite intelligent. Alot of people (idiots) in Australia rather detest this beautiful bird. People complain that they are too noisy.
    Aye, the same is true here and also with Blue Jays (though to a lesser extent as Blue Jays are much prettier to look at )

    It is remarkable though, the obvious intelligence of both species. Not coincidentally, they are in the same family--the Corvids. Also, interestingly enough, around here Blue Jays and Crows are mortal enemies. The Jays will squawk and carry on to no end when some crows have alighted to some nearby tree tops as Crows are well-known swipers of Jay eggs and newly hatched young.

    Blue Jay:

    This one likes peanuts:

    A pretty photo:
    Last edited by Allenson; Thursday, February 24th, 2005 at 02:38 PM.

  4. #4

    Scientists prove crows are capable of conscious thought for 1st time

    It’s news that may unsettle fans of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds,’ but scientists have proven that crows possess a form of consciousness and are smarter than they’ve been given credit for. Corvids, or the crow and raven family of birds, are consciously aware of their environments and the short-term passage of time, which in turn, generates subjective experiences, the researchers found.

    The team at the University of Tubingen in Germany conducted a series of experiments on two carrion crows (Corvus corone), in which they were each shown some 20,000 light signals over the course of dozens of sessions while electrodes monitored their brain activity. The birds were trained to acknowledge the visual stimuli by nodding to show when they registered a flashing light. Some of the lights were more faint and short, making them harder to spot, however, and this caused a divergence in the responses given by the pair, leading to differences of opinion or subjective experience.

    “Nerve cells that represent visual input without subjective components are expected to respond in the same way to a visual stimulus of constant intensity,” animal physiologist Andreas Nieder of the University of Tubingen said. “Our results, however, conclusively show that nerve cells at higher processing levels of the crow’s brain are influenced by subjective experience, or more precisely produce subjective experiences.”

    The consciousness in question is called primary, or sensory, consciousness and was previously only thought to exist in primates. This latest research may force us to reconsider our definition of consciousness as well as the complexity of bird brains. Awareness of oneself, one’s knowledge and the ability to reflect on that knowledge as well as apply it to one’s experiences in the world all fall under the umbrella of primary consciousness and add an extra dimension to problem-solving and decision-making behavior, for which crows are already known.

    Primary consciousness is the most basic form as we understand it, and involves appreciation of and interaction with the world in the present, with some indication of a near past and near future. We previously understood this level of consciousness as being associated with the cerebral cortex in mammalian brains but avian brains are, by contrast, much smaller and smoother. However, another study which used 3D polarized light imaging Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany found that the cerebral architecture of bird brains is actually more similar to mammalian brains than we thought.

    These findings suggest the existence of a pre-existing “ancient microcircuit” in the last common ancestors of humans and crows which lived 320 million years ago, which then evolved and developed in vastly different ways over the intervening millions of years, according to biopsychologist Martin Stacho. In the meantime, the Tubingen researchers hope to continue their research and examine whether birds in fact possess secondary consciousness or awareness that they are aware.

    This has been known for some years now...are the Germans just catching up? The Corvids not only make tools - they recognize (as has been demonstrated some years ago) individuals and when those individuals harass them, the corvids harass them on sight thereafter - and they pass this memory on to their offspring. Human animals are NOT the only animals - by a long shot - with a deep and wide-ranging intelligence and memory. Moreover, the size of the brain is linked directly to the size of the body of the specific animal. Smaller brains, than human animals, in birds is hardly surprising! Native Americans were aware of Raven intelligence centuries, if not millennia, ago...

    R T :
    Not so bird-brained: Scientists prove crows are capable of conscious thought for 1st time 28 IX 2020.

    At least ever other day I put leftovers and food scraps on the top of the garden shed for the crows. I would be especially considerate when winter gets hard.
    First thing in the morning when they leave their roost they fly round in a big flock. They are very social. They have facial recognition of humans, essential for survival. No question they are highly intelligent.

    Huginn and Muninn - Wikipedia

    In Norse mythology, Huginn (from Old Norse "thought" ) and Muninn (Old Norse "memory" or "mind" ) are a pair of ravens that fly all over the world, Midgard, and bring information to the god Odin. Huginn and Muninn are attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources: the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; in the Third Grammatical Treatise, compiled in the 13th century by Óláfr Þórðarson; and in the poetry of skalds.

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    Tower of London 'queen' raven missing, believed dead

    Legend has it that the Tower must maintain six ravens or else the tower and the kingdom will fall

    The Tower of London's "queen" raven is missing and feared dead, but her master says there are still seven ravens in residence preventing the fall of the kingdom. Raven Merlina, described as "free-spirited", has not been seen at the Tower for several weeks, and was first realised to be missing before Christmas when the ravens were being put to bed. Legend has it that if the ravens ever leave the Tower of London, both the Tower and the kingdom will suffer, but Yeoman Warder Chris Skaife, Ravenmaster at the Tower, has put minds at rest.

    Chris Skaife, pictured in October 2020, feeding the ravens

    "Just before Christmas, before we went into the lockdown, we were putting the ravens to bed, and she didn't come back. "Now Merlina is a free-spirited raven that has been known to leave the Tower precincts on many occasion, but I'm her buddy, and so she normally comes back to us, but this time she didn't so I do fear that she is not with us anymore," he told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme. He added: "Obviously as the Ravenmaster, my concern is looking after the kingdom. "Should the ravens leave the Tower of London will crumble to dust, and great harm will befall the kingdom.

    "Of course that is myth and legend. "But we do have seven ravens here at the Tower of London, six by royal decree and of course I still have a spare one, so we're OK at the moment."

    Charles II is thought to have been the first to insist that the ravens of the Tower be protected after he was warned that the crown and the Tower itself would fall if they left. In a statement, the Tower of London said: "We have some really unhappy news to share. "Our much-loved raven Merlina has not been seen at the Tower for several weeks, and her continued absence indicates to us that she may have sadly passed away. "Though it isn't unusual for our ravens to roam outside the walls, free-spirited Merlina has previously always returned to the Tower and to the Ravenmaster and his team, with whom she shared a wonderfully close bond.

    "We now have seven ravens here at the Tower, one more than the required six, so we don't have any immediate plans to fill Merlina's vacancy."However in time we hope that a new chick from our breeding programme will be up to the formidable challenge of continuing her legacy. "Since joining us in 2007, Merlina was our undisputed ruler of the roost, Queen of the Tower Ravens. "She will be greatly missed by her fellow ravens, the Ravenmaster, and all of us in the Tower community."

    Tower of London 'queen' raven missing, believed dead

    14 I 2021.

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