Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Crows: The Smart Boys of Birding. Shopping.

"Crows have the largest brain capacity to body size of any North American bird. Their intelligence and curiosity often result in play-like activity. Their ability to solve problems and remember those solutions are well documented.

In one Moscow study, a crow was presented with a row of caps with food hidden under the first cap. Once it found the food, by trial and error, it was again presented with the caps, with food under the second. Again, the crow found the food, and again, presented with the caps, with the food under the third. By the fourth time, the crow went directly to the next cap in the row, irrefutable evidence of a highly evolved learning ability.

Compared to other birds, the math skills of crows are considerable - they can count at least to three or four, possibly as high as seven. They are known to craft and use their own tools, and have extensive proficiency in locating the four-taloned discount. In fact, they specialize in pilfering. Anyone who has left a shiny key or bracelet outside in crow territory can attest to that.

"You get the feeling that they notice little details," said Cornell University crow expert Kevin McGowan. Since he started handing out peanuts to appease the birds he studies, he's been followed all over by crows that spot his Toyota with the ladder on the roof. "They seem to think and learn and change their behavior accordingly. They are the most human-like of the birds around us."

Crow behavior sometimes borders on the unbelievable. For instance, an ice fisherman reported that a group of crows, after watching human fishermen pull fish through holes in the ice, started doing the same when the fishermen retreated to their shack for coffee. The crows took the line in their beaks and backed up, then walked on the line up to the hole and repeated the behavior until the end was on the ice. They then devoured the fish or bait they found on the hooks.

In Virginia, a murder (a flock) of crows was implicated in a milk scandal. Upon retrieving their milk from the porch, people found the bottles opened and the cream gone.  After careful watching, a neighbor reported seeing crows follow the milkmen on their deliveries, pry the paper lids off the bottles and help themselves to breakfast.

One observer told of watching a crow solve a tricky problem. The bird had found a pile of berries of varying sizes. Probably with hungry nestlings to feed, it attempted to carry the berries away. Repeatedly it picked up the berries in various size combinations. Finally satisfied, the bird took off with all the berries. It had stacked the treats in its beak in descending order of size, smallest in back, largest at the tip.

Crows also have a wicked sense of humor. There are many stories of crows snipping clothespins off lines just to watch the clean sheets fall to the ground. Others like to undo shoelaces. One group of ravens in Alaska was observed repeatedly climbing to the top of a sloped, snow covered roof and sliding down, with apparent delight, on their rears. "
More at:
From National Geographic, look what these ravens did!
And from the BBC:

My daughter hates it when the crows and ravens come to her feeders.  She tries to shoo them away, and even threatened to go after them with a BB gun. 
But they gotta eat, too!
I hope that she, and you, now have a better understanding of these very intelligent birds.


It's Wednesday, the day I go shopping in the next town.  But I was by myself this time.  I picked up some bargains at St. Marks Thrift Shop, one being a beautiful burgundy color down comforter.  I will sanitize it in the washer on delicate cycle, and keep on fluffing it on low heat in the dryer.  It's worked well before, on quilts and down pillows.

Then I spent quite a bit of time trying to find a sealer that could be used on an RV rubber roof.  None of the local stores had anything.

Finally, I had to drive to the Camperland RV store, way south of town, almost into The Woodlands, TX.  Darned stuff is $72 a gallon for Dicor brand.  I didn't buy the cleaner that goes with it, as I found out that one can also scrub the roof with powdered Tide.SAM_0225-1
When we removed the roof AC off the cargo trailer, there was a small place where the rubber roof had been pushed out of place, and it might have been leaking from there.  Ray covered that part with Eternabond before he installed the new roof vent.
We will wash the roof with the Tide, and when we rinse it we will find out if we fixed the leak.  With the bare ceiling it should be easy to spot.

It was warmer, and I had to run the AC in the van part of the time, today.

1 comment:

~~Mike~~ said...

Great info about the crows! I had read some of that stuff in the past. They really are pretty smart critters!

The trailer project seems like it is coming along well! Sounds and looks like you are doing a good job. Hope the leak repair works perfectly!

97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"