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Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 10:14 AM

Parrots and corvids are among the elite, regarding intelligence, in the animal world. Has anyone heard of any studies of breeding birds for intelligence?

There have been some studies linking intelligence to heredity in chimps. But given the slow maturity of chimps, studies of this sort are difficult. Birds, on the other hand, breed quickly and are also intelligent, and could be used in intelligence studies with quick results. This could lead to interesting, albeit controversial, research on increasing intelligence.

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#1

Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 10:34 AM

Are you trying to make a Superbird...? I think Ravens are the smartest, after Eagles of course.....

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#2
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 11:16 AM

"Are you trying to make a Superbird...?" Already done.

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#4
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 12:22 PM

Man o man... that was one beautiful car. I had to settle for a 74 Duster (with a 318 in it).

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#3
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 11:42 AM

If that video is legit... that's absolutely fascinating! The fact that they have finally identically reproduced a bird's anatomy and mechanics of flight... pretty freakin' cool. I guess it all came down to the development of light-weight materials for structure and power source.

It makes me wonder when the same method will be practical for human shaped robots. We've all seen the bipedal robots that can walk upright, but they all have that odd semi-crouched stance that appears to be necessary for balance. It can't be long before completely upright versions are able to do the same think, entirely mimicking the natural human posture. That subject right there... the transition from crouched to upright, would make in interesting topic in itself.

Oh, and by the way... I'm not sure if we're ready to put eagles on par with corvids and parrots just yet, but I am doing my part in helping out some of your relatives that have come upon hard times.

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#6
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 1:02 PM

Here's a bird you can control in flight for $99.... Way cool....

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#7
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 1:26 PM

That's a smart crow....

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#13
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 5:06 PM

I always like to see an enterprising bird maximize his resources.

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#22
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 10:46 PM
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#8
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 1:53 PM

Is that your hand reaching out to the eagle? If the answer is yes, are you a wildlife rehabber or did the eagle just drop by for a snack?

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#9
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 3:30 PM

Yes, I'm a rehabber. Raptors, at the moment.

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#11
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 4:07 PM

I have such respect for rehabbers. I got sucked into the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Red Tailed Hawk webcam back in 2012. Since then I've learned more about raptors (and birds in general) than I'd ever dreamed of. Watching Big Red and Ezra raise their broods and teach them how to be independent grown-up hawks makes you realize how intelligent these birds are. Two years ago and again this year one of the hawklets was injured, treated at Cornell's wildlife hospital, and then rehabbed. (One can't be released -- broken wing didn't heal quite correctly -- but he's loving being an education bird.) Just amazing. Thank you for doing this important work!

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#14
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 5:36 PM

Thank you. I appreciate the acknowledgement. I'm a medical tech at a raptor center. Yeah, it's probably the most important work that I've done. Nothing else I've worked on has saved so many lives (mostly taken lives).

I get an especially big kick out of it because on several occasions, I've been able to combine my passions, and use my engineering skills in a significant way at the raptor center, and made a big difference. Best of both worlds. And whenever I hire on for a new engineering contract, I always make it a point to negotiate time off for my raptor work each week. Most places have been very supportive.

Plus... it's just really freakin' cool! If you'd like to see some great videos of adventures I've had there, go to you tube and search for "wungoodguy".

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#16
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 5:44 PM

Speaking of which... for nearly 10 years I've been debating with you guys and I don't have a clue what anyone looks like. Your different personalities and attitudes give me a vision in my mind's eye, but I'm sure none of you look like the cranky old geezers that I imagine you to look like

Is there a thread anywhere that you all posted pics of yourselves?

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#21
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 9:18 PM

Yes, we are the cranky old geezers that you imagine.

I watched some of your You tube stuff. You are a talented guy and I can't imagine you coming here to ask advice about birds.

Keep up the good work!

I just ran across this:

Zebra finches sing to eggs to prepare babies for global warming

If I can come across a flattering pic of myself, I might PM it to you.

Not sure what the response would be to a "What I Look Like Today" thread.

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#24
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/19/2016 8:58 AM

It's classified. By the way, the glare from most of our bald noggins would blind you.

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#36
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/23/2016 11:44 AM

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#37
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/23/2016 1:30 PM

I never take pictures of myself. This is as good as it gets, we were playing at fishing.

This photo will self destruct in 60 seconds.

Your name should be BaldEagle.

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#38
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/23/2016 10:09 PM

That's just my halo....

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#40
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/23/2016 10:29 PM

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#42
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/24/2016 11:00 AM

In the image shown, objects may be closer to the camera than they appear. Not doofus in the picture is me, I think, but the baseball cap hides the guilty (of baldness) evidence. Also, that was not one my better days, probably dehydrated from a night of wonton carousing, and late hours reenacting WWII aviation battles.

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#39
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/23/2016 10:27 PM

Lyn has more hair than any of us. Freakin' hippy.

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#25
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/19/2016 9:59 AM

I could watch pix of baby raptors all day but my employer would probably frown on it :-). My wallpaper is a closeup picture of Ezra, half of the Cornell bird cam star RTHA couple, sitting on the nest with shreds of a chipmunk and a Don't Tred On Me look on his handsome face.

I posted this thread to my Facebook page. One of my hawk friends sent this link to a Cornell faculty member's research on bird intelligence. She also pointed out that if humans tried to breed birds selectively to match our definition of intelligence, we'd probably produce birds with the problems some dog breeds have, now that we humans have interfered with their natural characteristics. Does give one pause.

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#27
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/19/2016 12:41 PM

Yes, there are always ethical implications when one speaks of breeding or manipulation. Especially something as advanced as intelligence. It can often turn into a "be careful what you wish for" situation.

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#31
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/19/2016 11:37 PM

Breeding deserves a pause for careful consideration. I thing dogs represent an example of human interaction that is generally quite positive/successful.

In the arena of intelligence, as an example, consider how dogs are generally able to work with abstractions better than wolves or even chimps.

Sure people do sometimes screw things up by breeding for some particular trait and ignoring everything else. I suspect the enhancements to dogs happened over a long period of time and probably wasn't the result of an intentional plan to bring about or enhance characteristics. Dogs that displayed useful characteristics were probably just favored ultimately reproductively.

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#32
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/22/2016 9:18 AM

Conscientious dog breeders today have the benefit of a number of tests for negative characteristics that indicate an animal shouldn't be part of a breeding program. In the past, a sire or dam could've produced multiple litters before something like an inherited disease, like Von Willebrand's in Scotties, expressed itself. Puppy mills don't care, but that's another story.

I'm thinking a lot about dog breeding today because my little girl (Welsh terrier) is expecting puppies this coming weekend, a breeding that was carefully planned and highly anticipated. I have specific expectations for these puppies, mostly reinforcing the good qualities of both parents, including strong prey drive and temperaments that will make them great family dogs, whether or not they're show dogs as well.

My late lamented boy dog had a curious inherited characteristic: he was a fanatic TV watcher. His breeder could trace this predilection for TV-watching back to a specific sire. All of her dogs with that sire in their family tree were TV watchers. My mother-to-be also watches TV, especially the news. Turns out that her sire is the sire of the dog who passed TV watching down to all of his descendants. So we've got that gene traced back about 5 generations.

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#33
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/22/2016 11:36 AM

Quite interesting. I have one mixed breed, mostly full-size Schnauzer, that is totally and completely "addicted" to playing "get the ball".

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#34
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/22/2016 7:23 PM

Fascinating.

Many dogs do not pass the mirror test, which some theorize may be due to dogs often having vision that fails to discern details in a mirror. Perhaps you will cosider video recording the TV watching dogs while play it live on your TV for an acclamation period and later surreptitiously attaching a small light toy of interest to one of the TV watching dogs; it would be very interesting to know if behaviors followed that suggest self recognition.

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#35
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/23/2016 9:17 AM

Huh? Yes our dogs watch TV, but they prefer to look out the living room window to see what person or dog is walking on "their sidewalk". Our dogs pretty much behave badly, more like pack of dingoes than pets.

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#41
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/24/2016 10:35 AM

I know some dogs watch TV, and it is very interesting that it appears to be hereditary in the example described. I was suggesting that if these dogs reliably watched TV, it would be interesting to see if they would recognize 'self' in a set up modelling the mirror test.

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#18
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 6:11 PM

Depends on whether you are a Baltimore or a Philly fan. If I cared about football at all, I'd be a New England fan however, since a Minuteman is not a bird, this is all OT anyways.

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#26
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/19/2016 11:07 AM

Minuteman missile is one hell of a bird, only strangely wingless.

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#5

Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 12:46 PM

Despite their small brains, ravens and crows may be just as clever as chimps, research suggests

Study shows how these birds parallel great apes in motor self-regulation

Date:
April 26, 2016
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
A new study suggests that ravens can be as clever as chimpanzees, despite having much smaller brains, indicating that rather than the size of the brain, the neuronal density and the structure of the birds' brains play an important role in terms of their intelligence.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160426101527.htm

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#10

Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 3:50 PM

As one who lives in a section of Canada (the Eastern Arctic) that has literally thousands of ravens, without a doubt there birds are very very smart.

They have an extensive vocabulary of calls that convey real meaning to each other. They remember individual humans that impact them in a negative manner and will scold people over and over again. Yes, they hold a grudge to boot. They use tools often and I have seen them employ rocks to hit things when they want into a thing. Or take a thing up into the air and drop it on rocks.

They often work together in teams to get food from chained up dogs. A dog will be guarding its dinner, two ravens will hop along the ground towards the chained up dog. When the dog rushes them (as they always do) the birds quickly move just out side of the range that the dog can move and sit there taunting the poor dog. When that happens, two other ravens swoop in and take the dogs food, then all of the ravens fly off, land and share the food.

They play solo and in pairs. There favorite game is "raven chicken", where they fly towards each other, lock talons and fall to the ground, it looks like the last one to fly away wins. I have seen them go al the way to within a few feet of the ground before they disconnect from each other. I have often seen them hit the ground when they do not pull out early enough. They play with rocks... they like dropping small ones on car windshields.

They will eat anything and everything and they will "chew" on a rock for 2 minutes sometimes to try and get something out of it.

They take very young puppies... we still have a lot of staked to the ground dog sled teams up here, and it is common to see new born pups run around, the ravens will swoop in and take them for dinner.

All and all very smart critters.

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#15
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 5:40 PM

We had an eagle come in once who was all banged up from doing just what you described... locking talons in mid-air and spiraling to the Earth. Territorial battle. But these didn't happen to let go in time. Both burned in. One flew away.

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#19
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 7:30 PM

When we lived in Alaska, we saw ravens playing in the snow, rolling down a hill just for fun.

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#53
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

12/12/2016 1:42 PM

The birds in Australia are bloody pyros:

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#12

Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 4:52 PM

Growing up on a farm in Ark. I agree Crows are really smart!

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#17
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 5:51 PM

Yes they are. That whole branch of the tree... the corvids, are incredibly smart. I released a big Red Tailed Hawk in a pasture once. It took about 15 seconds for one crow to sound the alarm, and for the next 15-20 minutes more than a half dozen crows teamed up and dive bombed this poor hawk. Until finally a resident hawk from the nearby woods heard the commotion and came flying in to render assistance. From then on it was an epic battle. 2 against 7. Saw some incredible mid air attacks. One crow went down and the rest finally flew off, beaten. Brawn won out over brains that day.

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#20

Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/18/2016 8:27 PM

A story of BFF...

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#23

Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/19/2016 1:17 AM

Did you hear the one about the crows and the vending machine?

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#28
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/19/2016 1:42 PM

What a sneaky get-rich-quick scheme....hat's off! Might be worth it for that occasional gold coin that appears....haha

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#29

Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/19/2016 2:44 PM

Here's a group of friends who come to visit every day at our feeders.

Peach Faced Love Birds thrive here in the Phoenix/Mesa area of Arizona. They are, I guess, a parrot offshoot?

They are noisy and chatter all the time they are here.

They are perched on the mister system I installed above their bird baths. (Hey, it gets hot here in Arizona in the summer!)

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#30
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/19/2016 4:06 PM

Gotta love those little fellas. I am still feeding my doves every evening, but now a few sparrows also desert wrens show up also. The small birds are nearly comical how they can dart into a tray full of pecking doves, get their food, then buzz away, little wings flapping so quickly. Almost seems like they fly like hummingbirds compared to doves.

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#44
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/24/2016 12:09 PM

These are beautiful! Definitely have a parakeet-ish look about them.

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#45
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/24/2016 3:39 PM

We have giant flocks of these Budgies down here....They are very skittish and flock together making huge nests at the electrical substations....

A pet store owner who is a friend of mine told me they come from people releasing them after purchase because the're so noisy they drive you crazy...so people just let them go...

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#46
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/24/2016 4:18 PM

Who's smarter? The Budgies, or the people who buy and release them?

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#47
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/24/2016 10:01 PM

Probably the guy who catches them, he gets to sell them over and over again...haha, a sustainable model...

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#48
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/24/2016 11:12 PM

No thanks!

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#49
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Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/25/2016 9:23 AM

Is that a Harris hawk going after the flock? And what a flock it is, whoa!

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/25/2016 11:17 AM

Black Falcon....

A Harris Hawk ...

They do appear similar....

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#51
In reply to #45

Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/25/2016 11:58 AM

Stupid people who know nothing about these little birds should not be allowed to have pets.

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#52
In reply to #51

Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/25/2016 2:13 PM

I agree. Birds are better left in the wild.

My wife and I truly enjoy watching the birds just outside our front window every day.

We also understand that that pleasure comes at the small price of always seeing that their feeders are well stocked with food.

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#43

Re: Breeding Birds for Intelligence

08/24/2016 11:02 AM

Owls aren't really as wise as legend suggests, but they do have one of the biggest brain size to body mass ratios among birds. This one was wise enough to be out of box about 2 seconds after this picture.

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