[CT Birds] Re. Bird Sled

Meredith, Leslie Leslie.Meredith at simonandschuster.com
Mon Jan 16 19:55:10 EST 2012

This is a wonderful story, John. In May Univ of Washington professor and corvid expert John Marzluff  will publish a new book with illustrations by artist Tony Angell titled Gifts of the Crow.  It explores the neurology of corvids and demonstrates their high intelligence, problem-solving, communication, aggression and affection and other emotions including mourning, and their love of play.  As it explains the science of emotion and intelligence, it tells fascinating stories of corvids' varied behavior, including wind-surfing in a canyon using bark chips as surf boards. Heinrich has described them as"wolves with wings," and others as "feathered apes."

From: ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org [ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of John Ogren [northernrail at comcast.net]
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 6:32 PM
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Subject: [CT Birds] Re. Bird Sled

My family had a pet crow 40 years ago. It had already been imprinted when it landed on my shoulder while I was working at a golf course  back in my high school days. I am not sure of the scientific basis why but he would love to play games. We would tie a block of wood on a string and have him chase it on the ground similar to what a kitten would do. If he wanted to "play" the game he would bring the block and string to us, dropping the string in our hands and squawk loudly until we started. When tired he would fly into our laps, make a cooing sound and proceed to roll over on his back, feet in the air, and fall asleep while we stroked his breast.
Other games would include a version of hide n seek, where he would take objects and hide them on us. As we got close he would get excited and at the last minute "find" the object himself.
Sure seemed like play to me. Perhaps crows, having a more evolved  social structure than most birds need play to develop, similar to wolves and dogs.
It has been observed that crows seem to go through a "mourning" quiet period when a member of their immediate family dies.
Several books have been written about the interesting behaviour and intelligience of Crows and Ravens. One in particular that I really enjoyed is "Mind of the Raven" by Bernd Heinrich.
In any case, Corvids have always been my favorite.

John Ogren
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