Author Topic: ‘A Murder of Crows’  (Read 2202 times)

Offline Skip Slocum

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‘A Murder of Crows’
« on: October 01, 2011, 09:44:25 PM »
I just saw something unique.
Because my story uses the folklore of crows and ravens in it, I paused at a TV program on the PBS channel. The program was entitled, ‘A Murder of Crows’ / ‘Nature’.

I was amazed to see an adult crow, pick up a short stick, (the length of a finger) retrieve a longer stick from between the bars of a small enclosure, and then turn around and use the longer stick to retrieve a colored sugar-cube that had been tucked between two pieces of Plexiglas.

Okay, maybe I’m too easily impressed but that was interesting to see the inelegance of an animal using tools.

Other crows were waiting for the signal lights to turn red, and timing the height and drop rate of a walnut (they were carrying), to hit the pavement. The nut hit just hard enough to crack the shell without shattering, scoop the nut back up and fly away before they or their food got run over by traffic. Well, I liked it.  ;D ;D

Skip
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 09:52:48 PM by Skip Slocum »

Offline Don

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2011, 09:50:09 PM »
We understand very little about human intelligence. It's hardly surprising that we understand even less about animal intelligence.
I have a motto: when in doubt, go for the cheap laugh.

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2011, 09:51:50 PM »
Very true.

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2011, 10:03:10 PM »
That also reminds me, speaking of stories. Its the end beginning of the month. Time to copy and update your writing back ups.

Kinda goes hand in hand with the PBS thing. A Public Service Announcement.  ;D

Skip
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 10:15:10 PM by Skip Slocum »

Offline Gyppo

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2011, 10:15:45 PM »
The various members of the Corvid family are pretty smart.  The fact they can live a long time, compared to some other birds probably gives them a better opportunity to learn.  Although there are doubtless some thick old crows who are just lucky..

The crows in Bodmin, Cornwall, worked out how to tip over dustbins.  A workmate was fed up with his dog getting the blame so he got up early one morning and saw a flock of crows working along the street testing bins to see which ones 'wobbled' by landing ono one side of the rim.  Sloping and uneven pavements (sidewalks) probably helped with this.

The more heavily filled bins were stable and were left alone..

But as soon as they felt one which moved beneath their feet they'd call the others, who would flock over, land anywhere on the lid, and then shuffle around to add their weight to one side until the bin tipped.  If the lid fell off and spilled the contents they would then revert to squabbling disorder over which had what.

It the lid stayed on they would have a few attempts at pulling it off, levering with theor strong beaks, but never spent wasted too much time trying.

I assume, possibly wrongly, that at some point a crow knocked over a nearly empty bin, was seen by others doing this, and they realised the potential.  Whether they reasoned it out or just learned from the first example we may never know.  After all, how did sparrows 'learn' there was cream to be drunk below the foil caps of old fashioned milk bottles?  Did one of them just attack his reflection in a silver cap, believing it to be a rival, and thus accidentally discover the treasure below?
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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2011, 10:22:08 PM »
That's just too cool.

Offline thatollie

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2011, 09:55:03 PM »
The pigeons in St. Ives are smarter than the crows of Bodmin, they just attack little girls leaving bakeries. 
Never make a decision standing up.

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2011, 10:45:22 PM »
I’m picturing a squadron of pigeons, wearing silk scarves, skullcaps and goggles.
A little girl in white dress, red polka dots, innocently steps from the doorway of Mr. Gregory’s Bakery, carrying a paper sack with loafs of French bread and nibbling on a sugar-cookie.

*cue the music from a miniature, nursery piano

The lead pigeon sees the girl, looks back to get the thumbs up from the others. (The fat one smoking a cigar) Tipping their heads forward and rolling them to the right, the squadron wings over into their dive run.

*cue the growing drone of the B-52’s screaming from altitude.

The camera flits from the birds to the unsuspecting child. Closer . . . and closer . . . as the music grows.

All of a sudden, Bobby Slick-em rides up on his blue bike with a banana seat, passes the old metal trashcan lifting the lid as a knights shield.

The little girl reaches into her bag to hand Bobby one of her cookie as the squadron of marauders’ machinegun their beaks into the dinted lid.   ;D

Skip
« Last Edit: October 02, 2011, 10:53:34 PM by Skip Slocum »

Offline Gyppo

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2011, 12:38:46 AM »
Nice one, Skip ;-)
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Offline Gyppo

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2011, 12:39:39 AM »
The pigeons in St. Ives are smarter than the crows of Bodmin, they just attack little girls leaving bakeries. 

Pigeons aren't smart, just opportunist.
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Offline thatollie

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2011, 12:42:57 AM »
Pigeons aren't smart, just opportunist.

A wise bird will make more opportunities than it finds.
- Sir Francis Pigeon
Never make a decision standing up.

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2011, 02:04:16 AM »
 ;D

Offline Gyppo

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2011, 02:38:34 AM »
Did you know a pigeon can eat its own weight in food each day if there's plenty around.  Although a lot of it will fall almost straight back out of its arse.

Would you even want to think about eating your own bodyweight in food during 24 hours?  Revolting, isn't it?

Even ignoring the weight, imagine something your own size, whether you're large or small, piled on the table waiting to be eaten...
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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2011, 03:01:23 AM »
That I can't see.

Offline thatollie

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Re: ‘A Murder of Crows’
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2011, 03:42:29 AM »
Haven't you ever seen one of those television programmes where they get a really fat person and pile up all the food they eat in a certain period of time (a week, I think, but it might be a day because those people are super fat) on a table, it generally looks like it could outweigh me (and contrary to popular belief, I'm not a small lad).
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