Sunday, February 06, 2011

Bird Brain: Is a bit of an insulting, school-days term not so popular today. But spending a quiet Sunday five minutes looking into the back garden at a Blackbird bathing in the pond outlet water, and a couple of Rooks strutting around the lawn, I'm not so sure that it should equal stupid.
Mrs. B let a couple of eggs go out of date. She threw them, inside the egg box, into the bin. I took them out, and put them on the grass under the conifers at the top of the garden. The fox would enjoy cracking them open and chuckling back the golden vitamins inside, as long as they hadn't addled.
But the fox wasn't so lucky; the Rooks found them first, they ate one and hid the other in a divot in the earth under leaves and grass in the Willow living art structure. Where their Rookery is, or how large their territory covers we will never know, but what we make fun of as their 'bird-brains' are clever enough to remember where the eggs have been hidden.
So they must have a considerable memory of not only their immediate surroundings, which could be rather a lot of square miles; but also the back gardens of every property; enabling their return to, hopefully, find their stash.
It's not uncommon for other birds, such as the Magpie or the Jay, to raid these food stashes; so urban warfare is not uncommon if one is found to be robbing another.
They also hide pieces of bread in a similar manner, and again, sometimes it is raided. But that small 'bird-brain' must be far more intelligent than we imagine, and these avian maps quite intriguing, considering we humans have to draw them onto paper; a facility the avians do not have the faculties to enjoy.
Theirs, based upon repitition and familiarity with the locality, is rather like us with our daily excursion of going the same route to get to work; except their groundhog day is finding enough to eat to see them through the night.
But thinking about it, that's not too far removed from what we do, anyway.