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Bird brains

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Birdbrain” is usually considered a derogatory term used as an insult referring to stupidity, however, it really is complimentary. Birds are very intelligent creatures and can perform some extraordinary tasks.

The members of the crow family, corvids, have been found to be as intelligent as primates. However parrots are very intelligent and because they can mimic human speech people find them the smartest of birds, which might not necessarily be the case.

Some corvids learn from their parents and Magpies have self-recognition which was previously thought to be only a human ability. Birds can solve problems that when posed to dogs are not even aware of the problem given them.

Though birds have a relatively small cerebral cortex, the intelligence part of the brain, compared to primates they use a part of the brain not present in mammals. Also high intelligence is credited to social beings, corvids and parrots are very social.

Evidence of this intelligence can be found throughout the world. Crows in Japan crush nuts by putting them in a roadway and waiting traffic to subside to eat the nut meat. Woodpecker finches on the Galapagos Islands trim twigs to forage for insects. The northern mockingbird, found in Wisconsin, will attack only individuals threatening their nest.

Milwaukee area residents can watch the area birds and see for themselves how smart they really are.

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