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Crow learning

wildlife, gardening, environment, Rural living, Pets and Vets
Sorcery
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Crow learning

#78942

Postby Sorcery » September 3rd, 2017, 7:26 pm

We recently purchase bird feeders and seeds and installed it near the house. Great success in attracting small birds. I finally know what a goldfinch looks like for real! They are burning a hole in my pocket mind.

There is a crow nesting site at the bottom of my garden, impossibly windy (I would of thought), 300 feet up over a 1 in 3 slope, for context. Three of said crows have taken an interest in the feeders. Their presence scares off all the other birds for the duration. The crows are trying to feed from the feeders. I have seen one try and use the stands on the feeder but it doesn't have space to get low enough. I have seen another(?) stand on top of the feeder and try and get in from the top. Once I found the feeder on the ground presumably having been lifted off it's stand. There is one that enters high vegetation to root around at the base of the feeders for dropped seeds. I know the crow family are supposed to be clever but that's seriously clever.
Their continued presence (weeks in overall non continuous duration) suggests they are getting something for their efforts. It also suggests they are learning about a food source from other bird species activity.

kiloran
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Re: Crow learning

#78951

Postby kiloran » September 3rd, 2017, 7:51 pm

We get jackdaws feeding off our peanut feeder through most of the day, hanging on as if they were bluetits. Also the odd crow though they struggle somewhat due to their greater size. The crows also eat bits of bread we throw out, and if the bread is deemed to be too stale, the crows dunk it in the bird bath for a bit to soften it up. Smart birds.

--kiloran

Breelander
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Re: Crow learning

#78959

Postby Breelander » September 3rd, 2017, 8:43 pm

Crows and Jackdaws are both Corvids, well known as being highly intelligent....

The genus Corvus, including the jackdaws, crows, rooks, and ravens, makes up over a third of the entire family.
Corvids display remarkable intelligence for animals of their size...

...The brain-to-body weight ratios of corvid brains are among the largest in birds, equal to that of most great apes and cetaceans, and only slightly lower than a human.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvidae#Intelligence

midnightcatprowl
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Re: Crow learning

#78960

Postby midnightcatprowl » September 3rd, 2017, 9:06 pm

I volunteer for a Wildlife Rescue and the volunteers are under strict instructions not to talk to or interact, except for strictly necessary reasons, with any of the Corvid family.

This may sound odd but it is a 'natural' thing to talk to birds and animals while trying to clean them out, provide fresh food or hand feed them if babies, weigh them if needed, give medications, etc etc. The thing is that no matter how nice you are to a blackbird or a swift or a weasel or a hedgehog it remains a wild thing (the weasel will have your fingertip off any time it can too) and when released they don't hang around to say thank you they are off and they put as much distance between those revolting bipeds and themselves as fast as they can. Corvids unfortunately, being so highly intelligent and also very sociable birds, find humans very interesting and given a chance will become very fond of interacting with them. The catch is that this may lead them to approach humans after release not necessarily looking for food but simply looking for interaction, sadly there are some nasty folk out there and such approaches can lead to disaster.

So sadly it is no chat and no interact with corvids and it is remarkably difficult. That cage full of adolescent starlings are horrified by your approach, the hedgehog curls up, the weasel attacks, the swift has no interest in the earth bound. In contrast the young jackdaw in the cage next to the one you are cleaning out is right up there at the front watching your every move and 'talking' and doing everything it can to get a response from you even though it only encountered humans for the first time yesterday after falling down a chimney and getting stuck behind a gas fire.

UncleEbenezer
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Re: Crow learning

#78964

Postby UncleEbenezer » September 3rd, 2017, 9:28 pm

Breelander wrote:Crows and Jackdaws are both Corvids, well known as being highly intelligent....

I think other posters here are aware of that.

But associating different corvids on lemon fool can get you slapped down. viewtopic.php?f=64&t=7095

sg31
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Re: Crow learning

#79431

Postby sg31 » September 5th, 2017, 10:33 pm

We have bird feeders and crows. They are indeed most resourceful and determined in their efforts for a free meal. They started by trying to eat the fat balls and square food blocks. It didn't take them long to find a way to open the top of the feeders and help themselves. We then tightened the catch so it was much more difficult to open.

They found out that lifting it of the stand and letting it drop to the floor would spring the catch open. We wired it to the stand, they undid the wire and dropped the feeder to the ground.

This was all happening in the early mornings in summer while we were still asleep. My wife decided to take the feeders in in the evening so they couldn't work undisturbed. After a few days they realised the feeders went out shortly after we opened the bedroom curtains, they then took to congregating on the extension roof outside our bedroom window and cawing loudly. As soon as our bedroom curtains opened they would line up on the edge of the roof waiting for the feeders to go out.

I'm sure they could get more food elsewhere but it's become a game they seem to enjoy as much as we do. I could devise a way to stop them but it would spoil the fun. I just make things a little harder every time they up their game

Where we lived before there was a particular crow who liked to torment the local fox. The fox would sit out in the horse paddock and the crow would land nearby. He would casually approach the fox as if unaware of his existence, the fox would wait for him to get within range then pounce hoping for a free meal. The crow was always too quick and would escape. Then he would repeat the trick time and time again Eventually the fox would realise he was out done and would ignore the crow. To take things further the crow would sneak up behind the fox and tweak his tail. This could go on for ages until the thoroughly demoralised fox would slink away.

This was repeated numerous times over a period of several weeks. I don't understand what the crow got out of it other than devilment.

XFool
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Re: Crow learning

#79438

Postby XFool » September 5th, 2017, 11:59 pm

One thing I have noticed about crows is they can see you are there.

All birds react to a human presence, but most seem to react to movement. If you are very still they either ignore you or can't even detect you. Crows can obviously just see you.

Sorcery
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Re: Crow learning

#79742

Postby Sorcery » September 7th, 2017, 6:23 pm

XFool wrote:One thing I have noticed about crows is they can see you are there.
All birds react to a human presence, but most seem to react to movement. If you are very still they either ignore you or can't even detect you. Crows can obviously just see you.

Not noticed that. The feeder is in my sight for as long as I am working on the computer. They don't seem phased by me being there, if I stand up or move location they are off though.

sg31 wrote:I'm sure they could get more food elsewhere but it's become a game they seem to enjoy as much as we do. I could devise a way to stop them but it would spoil the fun. I just make things a little harder every time they up their game

Yes it's fun watching them, difficult to think about their motives without anthropomorphising but they seem to treat it as a puzzle to be solved with a kind of conceit that if those little finches and tits can get fed, us superior crows can too. I think I would like to devise something like the mission impossible squirrel task (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY9GBl7UmVs) but for crows. Thinking about putting a chicken carcass under a heavy dome tied to a pulley that will lift the dome if another crow sits on the counterweight. Might be a problem for the feeding crow if the dome descends on it, after the counterweight crow flies off, however. More thought required :)

Breelander
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Re: Crow learning

#79744

Postby Breelander » September 7th, 2017, 6:34 pm

Sorcery wrote:I think I would like to devise something like the mission impossible squirrel task (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY9GBl7UmVs) but for crows...


Like this, you mean?
YouTube: Are crows the ultimate problem solvers? - Inside the Animal Mind - BBC

Sorcery
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Re: Crow learning

#79746

Postby Sorcery » September 7th, 2017, 6:41 pm

Was thinking about the rat problem if I left the cooked remains of a chicken dinner outside.
As if on cue, a large brown rat (but I hope it's a water vole) appeared on my patio near the feeders. Think I can now now tell the difference having looked it up but cannot remember those details, it was in view for only a few seconds.
Crows are back as I type, they can eat the rat if they want. ;)

colin
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Re: Crow learning

#81415

Postby colin » September 15th, 2017, 10:13 pm

Be nice to the Dark Ones and they may reward you.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-31604026

UncleEbenezer
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Re: Crow learning

#81423

Postby UncleEbenezer » September 15th, 2017, 11:17 pm

colin wrote:Be nice to the Dark Ones and they may reward you.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-31604026

A latter-day Hrafnsmál!

Their cousins have the greater powers. But those are indeed the common brethren of the Hrafnaguð's companions.

supremetwo
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Re: Crow learning

#81428

Postby supremetwo » September 16th, 2017, 12:31 am

Sorcery wrote:Their continued presence (weeks in overall non continuous duration) suggests they are getting something for their efforts. It also suggests they are learning about a food source from other bird species activity.

They learn about food sources from their own.

Our local gang of corvids have one or two swing on the bird feeders while the rest gather noisily below for the spoils.

The adult magpies chase the jackdaws and rooks or each other away until the pair of big crows chase them off.

Four young magpies excitedly gathered labels from pots and sticks from the veggie patch and made a stash under the holly bush.

Corvid
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Re: Crow learning

#82226

Postby Corvid » September 20th, 2017, 10:59 am

Bloody patronising humans. You think I can't use a laptop?

colin
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Re: Crow learning

#82348

Postby colin » September 20th, 2017, 8:27 pm

I recall an article concerning crows which had mastered a technique for stealing fish caught by otters on Scottish beaches. Otter catches fish and comes ashore to eat it, one crow lands in front one follows behind the otter and pecks its tail, otter drops fish and spins round at which point the crow in front pinches the fish and they both fly off, pretty smart eh? expect them to be seen playing Find the lady in Oxford Street soon.


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