“Bird Brain” is a Compliment!

Steller's Jay_BlkForest_20100424_LAH_3443Crows can make tools, or unzip your backpack to extract your lunch. Macaws have been known to open complicated latches their cages in order to escape their captors, demonstrating insight into complex problem solving. Jays can remember where they stashed each and every one of thousands of nuts. And I knew an African Gray Parrot that, in an effort to keep its owners home (and therefore receive more attention), mimicked the telephone’s ring every time anyone started to leave the house. In fact, many birds are exceptionally intelligent. But how do they fit those smarts into their tiny brains?