Seahawks? Meh. Eagles? Bird-brains. According to real scientists, there’s only one bird that displays intelligence levels and social skills akin to those of humans. Yep, the raven.
Scientists at the University of Vienna have found that ravens notice dominance reversals among conspecifics within and outside their social group. In plain English, that means that ravens live in socially stratified worlds, where certain birds are on top and know it. When a lower-ranking bird challenges a higher-ranking counterpart, the other ravens get stressed out. This is true even when ravens are introduced to other social groups– even among strangers, they can tell if another bird is being rude. While this may seem relatively trivial, it actually shows that these are highly social birds that pay quite a bit of attention to complicated interpersonal–sorry, intra-ravenous — roles.
Other studies have indicated that ravens are one of only four species (including bees, ants, and humans) that have been known to communicate about distant objects and places. They are also skilled at problem solving, especially trial-and-error reasoning. They steal, hoard shiny objects, and trick each other. They make their own toys out of twigs.
In other words, if you’ve got to have a bird that’s associated with your city, the raven is a pretty cool option.
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