Monday, January 24, 2011

Crows are darned smart

Generic crow picture; didn't have my camera with me.

I'm walking back to my hay barn to check on the sheep that are penned near it, and when I'm almost there, I hear a piglet squeal.  They have a particular sound that they make when they see a larger pig for the first time, kind of a high pitched snorting sound, and that's what I heard. 

Sometimes piglets get out and get lost, it doesn't happen very often, but I spent a few minutes looking around for the lost piglet, under bushes and around the barn, didn't see it, and figured that it would come out in a while when it was ready, and i continued on down the road and checked on the sheep.  They were in good shape, water trough was full, lots of hay.  On the way back, at about the same place, I heard the piglet again, pretty clearly this time.  It was unmistakably a piglet.  Again i looked around, but this time I'm looking between bales of hay and under things and really spending some time.  Moving haybales.  No piglet.  Cannot figure out where it was. 

later that afternoon I run the tractor back there, shut it off and step down and darned if I don't hear that piglet again.  Snorkle snorkle snorkle!  Ok.  I'm going to find it this time!  From where I'm hearing it I think it's in the bushes on the far side of the perimeter fence.  So walk 200' to the nearest gate, go through and start beating the bushes.  30 minutes later, no piglet.  Then I realize that I've only got 3 litters of piglets, and I go and count my piglets.  No piglets missing from anyone.  What the heck? 

Ok,  back to the tractor, climbing into it and I HEAR THE PIGLET AGAIN!  but this time it's coming from above me, in the barn rafters.  How is that possible?  I look up and ITS A CROW!

This crow has learned how to mimic a piglet precisely.  It sounds exactly like a piglet.   Near as I can figure, the crow wanted me to move bales around in the hopes of either chicken eggs laid between them or to get at the mice that nest in the hay pile.   This crow is using me as a tool to move the hay.


Nancy, Olympia WA said...

Wow!! You have a smart one there.

The crows do a good job of chasing off the red tail hawks that want to eat my chickens.

I've been letting my chickens free range to spread the horse poo in the pasture.

StefRobrts said...

Just a few weeks ago a red tail hawk killed a crow in our pasture. This was about a week after the hawk had taken one of my hens. I wouldn't bet on the crows winning a red tail vs crow battle!

Crows are supposed to be great mimics, but ours just caw caw caw :)

Anonymous said...

you're a tool alright :)

Susan B said...

I had an old microwave and my cockatiel learned to mimic the sound it made when the time was done.

Anonymous said...

crow can actually talk. They did a study and taught a crow to talk. they can also fingure out how to open things like zippers. They have the ability to think tings out to get food.