Author Topic: Re: Corvid Culture (was Outbeak Culture)  (Read 44 times)

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Offline kimmy

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Re: Corvid Culture (was Outbeak Culture)
« on: October 15, 2020, 05:32:38 am »
From ancient times to modern day, the corvid family-- especially crows and ravens-- have fascinated and mystified mankind.  They figure prominently in the mythology of a number of ancient peoples around the world. Norse, Native American, Celtic, Greek, and numerous other mythologies demonstrate the allure that crows and ravens have for the human imagination.  Part of the intrigue lies in the in their stark appearance, the pitch black feathers that shine like obsidian when the sun hits them. And their appetite for dead things has led to them being associated with death and war, illness, and bad omen. But there is also their intelligence. In Norse myth Odin has two ravens named Huginn and Muninn, or Thought and Memory. They travel the world and return to him, and whisper everything that they've seen in his ear.  In some Native American mythologies the Raven is a key figure. He is trickster, an agent of chaos... in some stories Raven accidentally unleashed mankind into the world.  From the Old Testament to Edgar Allen Poe, these birds have staked a claim in human imagination.

How intelligent are corvids? Pretty intelligent! A lot of research has been done on the subject. It turns out that they can solve problems, create tools, memorize things, recognize people. While many animals have declined because of human influence, corvids have thrived because they are tremendously adaptable. These fascinating creatures are clever enough to find ways to survive alongside humans.

One of my favorite stories about humans interacting with crows is this story about a girl who feeds crows and gets presents in return.
https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31604026

In Vancouver a crow became a local celebrity. Canuck The Crow liked to ride the Skytrain (inside, with the people) and once stole a knife from a crime scene.
https://www.vancourier.com/community/canuck-the-crow-lives-on-through-fan-art-photos-1.24066645

Let's talk corvids!

 -k
Masked for your safety.

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Offline the_squid

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Re: Corvid Culture (was Outbeak Culture)
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2020, 11:44:12 am »


Great book on the topic. 

https://www.amazon.ca/Bird-Brains-Intelligence-Ravens-Magpies/dp/0871569566

When I was a small child, we had a crow that adopted us as it’s family for a time.  I remember my mom getting pissed off when the crow would hop along behind us and come into the house.  It would sit on your shoulder, cawing in your ear...    It hung around for months until it didn’t, for whatever reason.  I like to think it got bored of us and hopped a bus to the next town...

We have Stellar’s jays that come to the feeder and gulp down all the seeds...  they’re very intelligent and closely related to crows.

Grey jays (whiskey Jack, Canada jay, camp robber or whatever you want to call them) are also corvids.  They love shiny objects.  We once had a chess piece stolen when we were hiking in Strathcona Park right out from under my buddy’s arm by one brave grey jay....  we saw him eyeing up the pieces on the little board before he swooped in and stole one... we didn’t think he’d be quite so brazen! 

Offline waldo

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Re: Corvid Culture (was Outbeak Culture)
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2020, 12:15:54 pm »
of the Family: Corvidae ... the Blue Jay!


Offline kimmy

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Re: Corvid Culture (was Outbeak Culture)
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2020, 12:16:57 pm »
Last summer at work we had a big crow that had started hanging out in the parking lot for some reason. When the minions went out for their smoke break they would talk to it and it would caw back. They started giving it food and named him Jake.   After a while it seems like he started becoming impatient for their smoke breaks, because he would start cawing at the door.  This was really irritating for Technical Sales Tom, because his window was near the front door. So he would run out and shoe the bird away.  Jake apparently thought this was great fun, because he would come back and do the same thing 15 minutes later.  "ARGH you stupid bird I'm going to kill you!" Tom would shout as he ran out into the parking lot as Jake flew away,  only to return soon after.  Soon Jake stopped going to the front door and started just standing outside Tom's window and looking in, cawing at him occasionally as if to remind him that it was time to come out and play. We convinced Tom that he was only encouraging this by reacting, so Tom forced himself to ignore Jake, though he dearly wished to strangle him.   He started closing the blinds so that Jake could not see him. Jake started going around to other windows, including mine, to see if he could find Tom or convince anyone else to come out and play. But aside from the minions on their smoke breaks, nobody would come out to play with Jake anymore.  He left after a while.  The minions were disappointed and started worrying. Perhaps Jake had been hurt or killed?  But I think that he simply had hurt feelings and went off to find new playmates.

 -k
Masked for your safety.
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Offline JuniperRose

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Re: Corvid Culture (was Outbeak Culture)
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2020, 12:30:40 pm »
Must it only be about Corvids? 

We have a couple of bird feeders, servicing chickadees, robins, bush tits, Stellar Jays and others we don't recognize.  The Stellar Jays are particularly noisy if the bird feeders happen to be empty, and will watch from nearby perches as they're refilled. 

Yesterday, a chickadee dropped by - and discovered the buffet had been cleaned out.  He flitted around a bit, and suddenly came within a few inches of the window, held himself there for a few seconds to stare into the room.  Clearly a message was being delivered.  So I sent the man out to do the necessary, with the chickadee overseeing and eagerly getting to his breakfast as soon as it was available.

Perhaps all birds are smarter than we think.
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Offline eyeball

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Re: Corvid Culture (was Outbeak Culture)
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2020, 11:38:49 am »
I worked in a fish-plant years and years ago and one day a crow followed a forklift into a big frozen storage room where it managed to survive for a couple of months.  It ate whatever it could peck away at and apparently stayed warm by roosting near a spot amongst a freezing equipment in a spot that was warm.  We tried everything to flush it out but it was impossible to evict. Then one day he/she followed the forklift out of the freezer. It was still in the fish plant but soon found its way to the main door and then things took a quick turn towards the surreal.  As usual there was a sizable contingent of crows and gulls roosting nearby waiting for an opportunity and all hell broke out when our crow flew outside and it was promptly attacked and torn to pieces by all the other crows who suddenly swarmed it.

The gulls seems as perplexed as us by the behaviour.
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Offline eyeball

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Re: Corvid Culture (was Outbeak Culture)
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2020, 11:45:55 am »
'Dark thoughts fluttered thru his mind like a murder of crows'.

That's the opening line to the mystery novel I never wrote.
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