The Paw Print

Dice Roll: Functional Raven

Jackson Lapp, Staff Writer

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For this roll, we got a subject that lies near and dear to my heart: birds. When I was a toddler, I developed a random fascination for these pleasant little feathered friends; everything about them, from their plumage to their calls caught my attention in a taut snare. However, until recently, I had never considered the intelligence of birds, and after learning quite a bit from an unlikely researcher/monarch, I now know how amazing the mind of the corvid is.

Dr. Auguste Philippa von Bayern is a German ornithologist at the head of her field, working for the Max Planck Institute of Behavioral Science after graduating from both Cambridge and Oxford. Her recent research efforts focus on studying the mind of the corvid, a name synonymous with birds such as crows, ravens, and jackdaws.

Corvids are of the most intelligent animals, as some studies have gone as far as to say that they are more intelligent than apes. In many different cases studied by Dr. Philippa, jackdaws have been recorded to have accomplished feats such as creating a tool out of a nearby stick to access otherwise inaccessible treats and tracking the line of sight of a human trainer to steal treats while remaining undetected. Most animals don’t possess this sort of cognitive ability, but for a reason that science has recently uncovered, this high intellect is necessary for the lives of these birds.

According to National Geographic, “Scientists agree that it isn’t physical need that makes animal smart, but social necessity. Group living tends to be a complicated business, so for individuals to prosper they need to understand exactly what’s going on.” Ravens, crows, and jackdaws all fit under the same category of social behavior as humans, which may come as a surprise to some, as these birds are often seen as stupid. I personally find this bigotry to be unwarranted, and hopefully you, dear reader, now understand that these birds are beautiful creatures, and should be treated as such. After all, you don’t want to get on their bad side; they remember human faces just as well as they do other birds.

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Dice Roll: Functional Raven