Corvid Intelligence

by Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

(Update: It’s now Dec 23 2020 and they’re still daily visitors to the seed, suet, and peanut butter feeders.)

The corvidae family of birds includes ravens, crows, magpies, jays, nutcrackers, and several other species known to be highly intelligent and capable of learning. This article suggests that ravens have the capacity for abstract thought, and this one demonstrates evidence of the same kinds of intelligence in crows. And anyone who has had the experience of having food stolen from their hands by a gray jay who has waited patiently for the perfect time to strike knows how intelligent those birds are.

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Invasion of the Nutcrackers

By Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

Clark’s Nutcrackers are year-round residents of the high country of the Rocky Mountains, often seen above treeline. But for some reason—either because their alpine food sources are scarce or because they found an abundance of pine seeds here in the valley, a flock of more than a dozen decided to briefly invade my yard this morning.

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Eastern Bluejays

By Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

Back east (I grew up in NC), bluejays were a common and not always appreciated sight around the bird feeders. They tend to be noisy and aggressive toward other birds. Yet they are distinctly beautiful birds and the story of their expansion into Montana is fascinating, and that’s why we’re starting to see them here in the valley.

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