Bird Smarts

Bird Smarts

7/1/12 Note: For Redlands area residents, adaptations of my columns will appear each Monday in the Redlands Daily Facts e-edition 

There are so many stories out there about bird intelligence but I thought I would share a few things I’ve read or experienced that illustrate the intelligence of our bird brethren.

My earlier post Bird Brain – a Myth discussed how research is showing the more primitive brain structure in birds has many similarities to the cortex of the human and mammal. Here are a few other items I’ve come across on bird intelligence:

  • Ravens and Wolves – Mutualistic Relationship University of Vermont researcher Bernd Heinrich studies the close relationship between ravens and wolves [Read more…]
Plant Smarts: Do Plants Feel?

Plant Smarts: Do Plants Feel?

I’ve always been intrigued with research that shows that plants communicate and may even show feelings (see my experiences below) but am aware of skepticism surrounding the subject. There’s a 1973 book “The Secret Life of Plants” by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird that talks about polygrapher Cleve Backster’s studies with plants. Briefly, Backster, a well-respected lie detector expert, on a whim attached electrodes to a leaf on his office dracaena plant, curious to see how it reacted. [Read more…]

Bird Brain – a Myth….

Bird Brain – a Myth….

Think birds can’t have much intelligence because of that small brain size? Think again. We have four parrots who continually surprise us with what we view as intelligence so this subject fascinates us.

Several years ago I attended an interesting lecture at the San Diego Museum of Natural History featuring neuroscientist Dr. Harvey Karten (U California – San Diego) entitled “Bird Brains.” [Read more…]