An interesting item on avian intelligence

To: Chris Sanderson <>
Subject: An interesting item on avian intelligence
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Sat, 9 May 2009 22:38:22 +1000
Bernd Heinrich an Ethologist who has done a lot of work with Ravens ( his book, Ravens in Winter is certainly worth a read). His studies show that Ravens have a remarkable degree of problem solving ability. Heinrich and Thomas Bugnyar wrote a fascinating article in Scientific American showing that Ravens even appear to be able to use logic to solve problems. An overview of the article can be found at


Carl Clifford

On 09/05/2009, at 10:09 PM, Chris Sanderson wrote:

Hi Peter,

There are other examples of crow intelligence out there. Japanese Crows for
example have developed a strategy for getting into nuts by dropping them
under the wheels of cars at pedestrian crossings.  I believe there is
another corvid in North America that has over 100 calls in its "language".
Just 2 quick examples, I'm sure there's many more.


On Sat, May 9, 2009 at 7:51 PM, Peter Shute <> wrote:

Somone will probably tell me it's been proven otherwise, but I'm a little wary of attributing too much intelligence to crows, etc. It might be that they have somehow evolved very advanced skills for getting things out of
holes with sticks, but not for much else.

Once they've evolved the instinct to get a stick, and (remarkably) to
modify one end as a hook, there's not that much to it.

Peter Shute

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