Over the last few weeks, a blue jay is feeding on my tall sunflowers. After last night’s deep freeze, the heads of the flowers bend over so much that the jay is having trouble getting at the seeds. I watch as he flits to the ground, jumps/flies up 8 feet, hits the downward-facing sunflower heads with his entire body, knocks off seed, and eats them from the ground.
How did the jay figure that out? Instinct? Observation? I check http://www.wild-bird-watching.com, and learn there that the blue jay is an intelligent and adaptable bird. No kidding!
At Wikipedia, I type in “Bird Intelligence”. They tell me that the term “bird brain” is a misnomer; birds are intelligent. About jays, they write:
“The Western Scrub Jay hides caches of food and will later re-hide food if it was watched by another bird the first time, but only if the bird hiding the food has itself stolen food before from a cache. Such an ability to see from the point of view of another individual had previously been attributed only to the great apes and sometimes elephants. Such abilities form the basis for empathy.”
The Kea, who lives in New Zealand, is another smart bird:
” Kea are known for their intelligence and curiosity, both vital traits for survival in the harsh mountain environment that is their home. Kea can solve logical puzzles, such as pushing and pulling things in a certain order to get to food, and will work together to achieve a certain objective.”
Working together to achieve a common objective… what a concept! Kea for Congress!
- Naughty kea caught, banished from camp (stuff.co.nz)
- Wise old birds teach migration route to young whooping cranes (scilogs.com)
- Earth Our Home Too : 25 Intelligent Animals (propelsteps.wordpress.com)
- Help to keep birds well fed through the winter months (getreading.co.uk)