Saturday, September 06, 2008

The intelligence of the Ravens

When the Ravens’ organization first considered two of their offseason free agent acquisitions (Rise & Conquer), much was discussed about how exactly the team would use the birds.

As team officials learned more about the species, they were quite surprised by the bird’s level of intelligence. I learned that the team’s marketing department observed a film about ravens which in part compared the raven’s level of intelligence to other birds.

To compare and contrast the birds, a hunk of meat was tied to a rope and hung from a tree. Several species of birds approached the meat in a variety of ways. Some would quickly take small portions while others would hang on a nearby branch and enjoy a quick serving or two while skittishly looking around for threats to their perch before nervously flying away.

Not the raven!

The film tracked the raven’s behavior. It would fly to the tree and occupy a nearby branch. It would look around and soak in the scene then fly away without touching the meat. After a few rounds of surveillance, the raven untied the rope’s knot and flew away with the entire hunk of meat.

Here’s an interesting video from PBS which further demonstrates the raven’s intelligence.

So…the next time someone suggests that you are a bird brain, remember the raven.

Now if the Baltimore Ravens could figure out a way to get to Carson Palmer tomorrow, maybe we’ll all be smiling come Monday morning.