But, then again . . . . .

By TrikinDave

The Swing.

Mrs SN expressed the wish to visit The Gunpowder Mill so we all piled into the car and went; we would normally have walked there, but Merlin only has short legs. We stopped at the shingle beach by the water wheel house and SN Jnr played with the swing, it's actually just a stick on the end of a nylon rope tied to a branch of a beech tree and it wasn't long before the swing was caught up in the tree and, as you can see, SN and Jnr had great difficulty retrieving it.

Being a retired engineer (aka a smart arse) I was able to show them how to do it using a little trick I learnt from a crow (really). I took one of their sticks, folded the end over to make a hook and used it to pull on the rope.

Crows are clever creatures, as are the rest of the corvids, giving the lie to the expression "bird brain." In experiments, crows have invented similar tools to the above, and used them to retrieve buckets of food from the bottom of glass tubes. Periodically, Homo sapiens comes up with features that he thinks distinguish him from the "lesser" animals. Initially it was using tools, then we discovered that sea otters use two stones as hammer and anvil to break open molluscs; so it was decided that making tools was key, we discovered that chimpanzees make probes from twigs to xtract termites from termite mounds; then it was the use of language, but wolfs, apes and dolphins, to name but a few, all have that capability. Crows, however, take the biscuit; we present them with a novel problem and can then watch them create a new tool with which to solve it.

Jnr only took a couple of minutes to lodge the swing back in the tree only, but this time it was higher up. I wonder who’d score the higher in an I.Q. test, him or the crow.

Sign in or get an account to comment.