Crows are just as smart as young kids?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

smart crows
Birds can grasp the concept of water displacement just as well as young kids.

Birds may be dumb enough to smash into windows, but the latest study found that they can be about as smart as the average human kid! This is especially true when it comes to understanding water displacement – the idea that dropping a heavy object will cause the level of water to rise up.

In the recent past, researchers have found that crows are pretty intelligent about obtaining food trapped in narrow, water-filled tubes. Since their short beaks can’t reach the tasty treat, the dark birds know that dropping enough stones into the container will cause the snack to float up to a peck-able level. The crows seemed to carefully think about their plan of action, but looking back on it, scientists realized it could have been sheer dumb luck. After presenting the birds with a few more options, though, researchers are now more certain that these feathered beasts are rather intelligent.

Instead of just filling tubes with water at various levels, the experimenters also trapped tasty snacks in sand-filled containers. Additionally, the birds had the option of using either rocks, hollow objects, or things that can float. However, the birds could not be fooled! Time and time again, they wisely chose to drop heavy objects into the water and avoided less strategic decisions like burying the treat under floating items, or uselessly dropping the objects in the sand.

These results demonstrate that the crows have the same basic ideas of water displacement as average 5 to 7 year old human kids. Since these creatures are the only non-human animals to fashion hooks and other tools, they are considered to be smarter than even primates and chimpanzees.

Images courtesy of PLOS Media on YouTube.