To: "'Brian Thorp'" <>
Subject: Suicide?
From: "Peter Ormay" <>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2014 17:08:26 +1100

I think the raven just got momentarily distracted by a tasty morsel or something else.


A friend of mine told me she saw a Kookaburra pounce on a Willie Wagtail that had been harassing it for years. The Wiilie dropped down onto the ground for a tasty morsel and the kooka dropped down straight after it, took it back up onto a branch, pounded it against the branch and swallowed it. Was the Willie tired of living? I don’t think so.



From: John Brown [
Sent: Sunday, 30 March 2014 5:15 PM
To: muriel story
Cc: Brian Thorp; COG-L
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Suicide?



While quite intelligent, Birds are a bit far down the evolutionary tree to have the brain structures required for the kind of emotions, self-reflection and world view associated with the kind of self-planned suicides that humans sometimes demonstrate. At the level of birds we have a range of associative learning styles, from trial and error, associative and (in bigger birds at least) imitation. This bird appears to have taken the Avian Darwin Award for this year, bring an end to whatever association had developed in its neural network which initiated this particular action. Other birds which use walking out into traffic as a way of successfully cracking nuts are clearly on a more adaptive evolutionary track! 




On 30 Mar 2014, at 4:18 pm, "muriel story" <m("","muriel.story");">> wrote:

Sounds quite significant behaviour considering a pub out Yanco way had a standing prize of a slab of ale for anyone who ran over what all would call a Crow. I understand the prize has never been claimed.




On Saturday, March 29, 2014, Brian Thorp <m("","bthorp1");">> wrote:

My daughter-in-law told me of a strange incident last week in a busy part of Civic.

There was a raven standing close to the side of the road who spent about five minutes carefully and intently watching every car go by.
Eventually it walked calmly out just as a car came up, timing it such that the driver could not avoid killing it.

Does anyone have any likely explanation?

Thanks, Brian

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