Of Bluejays and peanuts...
Of bird intelligence and us humans
We have a bunch of backyard animals and birds that we feed since our house back’s on to a wooded creek. We feed the squirrel’s whole unshelled peanuts and we found over the last years, several birds come in to compete with them to take away the peanuts. These include several Bluejays (I have counted five of them come in at one time), several Robins, and some Cardinals.
The little Robins often pick up a large peanut, struggle to fly away with it and ends up dropping it as they carry them. But they don’t give up. They go down and pick up the dropped peanut again and continue to fly away. It is marvellous to see them do that.
And the Bluejays exhibit even more intelligence. One behaviour that is intriguing is how the Bluejays evaluate which nuts to take. Some pick the first available peanuts and fly away. One of the Bluejays picks up several of the peanuts one at a time and then picks the largest to carry away each time. And one of what I believe is an older one of the Bluejays is even more interesting - it evaluates and pushes a smaller peanut into its throat and then carries the second one in its beak. So, two peanuts each trip. I read that the Bluejays live up to seven years or more.
In recent times, the Bluejays have become bolder. Often they are perched on the nearby tree or on top of my deck bannisters in the mornings and as I have coffee give loud bird calls to me demanding their morning share of peanuts.
It also makes one wonder, with all our cognitive power and large brains how well do we compare to being effective, efficient and learning as these small birds? It is a joy each time to see them in action, and I often feel shame that we as supposed evolved beings are not effective at learning like these little visitors that we share the world with (though I have not researched yet about whether it is their unconscious wiring or they are capable of conscious learning).
What do you think? Are we truly intelligent as we think we are?