crows are smart

At the Tower of London

This morning we saw a bunch of crows disassembling some fast food containers that an idiot had tossed in the road.  There were about a half dozen of the black birds at work removing leftovers from the packaging.  They seemed to be working as a team.  Coincidentally, today I ran across a TED Conference presentation about smart crows.  They can figure out problems pretty quickly, and the presenter thinks they could be guided towards helping us out with trash collection and other useful tasks.  One of the things crows will do is drop hard-shelled nuts (like a walnut, that they would otherwise not be able to open) into a busy street, wait for cars to run over it and break the shell, then stand on the curb until a traffic light changes so they can walk out into the street and get their little snack.

Update: Today’s the day for Crow news, it seems.  Just saw a news article about a neighboring town, and the mayor was talking about how the crow population has increased now that there are streetlights all over town.  Because with the all-night lights, the town’s owls can’t hunt the crows quite as easily.

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