Ravens and crows often get a bad reputation for being signs of bad luck or omens of death. However, these birds are extremely intelligent and self-aware, demonstrating abilities that only primates possess.
Birds from the Corvid family are far more complex than we give them credit for. Ancient castles have always been home to jackdaws, intelligent and monogamous birds related to crows and ravens.
A biologist set up a camera in one such nest to observe the behavior and provide tourists with a way to watch the birds. The pair work together to raise their chicks.
Princess Auguste of Bavaria is a behavioral biologist who works with jackdaws. She demonstrates how they can perceive eye movement in humans. They also bond with familiar humans and show wariness to strangers.
Another project she has worked on involves New Caledonian crows. These birds exhibit a trait only known in primates – the ability to use tools. She sets up an experiment to show off the skills of the bird.
Other avian biologists have also demonstrated that crows can create tools if given materials to do so without prior learning. Creating novel tools is an incredibly complex ability that only a few animals have.
Crows, ravens, and jackdaws are amazing birds, and we have a lot to learn about them. Perhaps with a little more research and publicity, we can change the public view of these fascinating animals.