Birds Are Smarter than I Thought

We ooh and aah over their colorful plumage. We adore their antics. We marvel at their ability to soar, turn, and plummet. But how often do we admire birds for their intelligence? Read The Genius of Birds, and you’ll realize that being called a “bird brain” can be quite a compliment.

From fascinating behaviors to the minutest details of neurophysiology, author Jennifer Ackerman takes us on an incredible adventure into how birds think. Meet Alex, the African Grey Parrot who had a vocabulary of hundreds of English words, and knew how to use them. What’s more, he understood the concept, not only of numbers, but of zero.

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A Murder of Crows

American Crow_PuebloCityPark-CO_LAH_8923I know a lot of people don’t like crows. There’s something sort of spooky about them. Maybe that’s because they’re black, and black birds seem to encourage superstition. Why else would a flock of crows be called a “murder”? It’s true that they’re not as colorful as most songbirds, and they do make pigs of themselves at feeders, but crows are fascinating. With Halloween fast approaching, this seems an appropriate time to take another look at these very common and highly intelligent birds.

You can learn all about the taxonomy and biology of crows from a variety of websites. I recommend The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Geographic, and Audubon for starters. It’s interesting information, but crows are more than a list of facts—much more. They are now considered one of the smartest animals in the world! Want proof?

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