Re: birding-aus High tech birds

Subject: Re: birding-aus High tech birds
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 19:04:10 PDT

Hi Reg and all,

Welcome Swallows have also been recorded doing this. In the Australian Bird Watcher, Vol 13 No.3 (Sept 1991) there is a note by Daniel & Barbara McKnight about Welcome Swallows operating electronic doors at the Rockhampton railway station. Like the Barn Swallows in Denmark, they had learnt to flutter in front of the electronic eye until the doors opened, letting themselves both in and out. The building was described as having a high ceiling with windows around the upper part, so the birds would have had to overcome the normal impulse that most birds have of flying up towards the light in an effort to escape from inside a building.

Our Danish correspondent commented "I will not call it intelligence, but it surely was not born knowing about high tech, was it?"

What is intelligence in animals anyway? In my opinion, if we were to try and define or measure intelligence it would be closely linked with their ability to adapt to new situations, via learned behaviour, and the swallows' behaviour certainly seems to fit that definition doesn't it?


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