There have always been plenty of crows around the farm. There are common at all times of the year and I have tried to capture one from time to time without success. I have used a Have-a-heart trap but usually a woodchuck, raccoon, squirrel or Rusty the big barn cat, gets caught before the crow even has a chance to enter the trap.
I have friends in Martha’s Vineyard that regularly catch crows in the same type of trap but for me… no luck. I am told that crows can be taught to speak if you split their tongue, whatever that might mean and however it might be done. But a friend sent me the article below about a crow that liked to toboggan, just for the fun of it. The website is posted at the bottom of the article but the text is posted below.
I’m not sure this is of much interest to most of my readers. I know it isn’t very interesting to me. All I want to do is catch one and teach it to say a few things like “Peter is not here right now but if you will leave a message, I will tell him when he returns.”
This is a delightful demonstration by a crow in which he demonstrates clear intelligence, which is a well known trait of crows generally. I have long argued that the foundation of demonstratable intelligence in the animal kingdom is the emergence of an extended social system. We have all seen that birds are not over endowed with brain mass, yet some of our cleverest creatures are birds who are part of a clearly organized social network.
More surprising than that observation is this one here. The crow in question figured out that the plastic ring could serve well as a tool to facilitate the crow tobogganing down the roof on fresh snow. He then proceeds to do just that as if he were a child enjoying play in the snow.
How a stuffy expert in animal behavior could explain any of this as anything else completely confounds me. The bird is at this time and place is merely having some fun in a way we can admire.
I suspect that it is appropriate to develop a logic based natural language for a full range of obvious clever animals that allows them to communicate needs and even abstractions. I suspect failure to date has been to ignore the issue of logic. Just learning negation would be a breakthrough