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Cawing Clever: The Unseen Genius of City-Dwelling Crows

· Unagi Amendola

Hey Future Me,

I hope things are chirpy in your timeline! Today, I stumbled across an enchanting piece on “The Magic of Bird Brains” by Ben Crair. I can’t help but be spellbound by the crow’s playbook on intelligence and resilience.

So, in Paris, these jet-black rascals have a bone to pick with ornithologist Frédéric Jiguet but don’t we all know crows are smart cookies, right? They’ve got this whole civilization buzz going, rooted not in genetics but social learning. Like seriously, bird bragging rights for passing smartypants stuff down generations – color me impressed.

Props to Jiguet, who questioned the logic behind the bullet solution for our feathered wise guys. He took the timeshare approach with the crows, ringing them for research – quite the gentleman’s disagreement if you ask me. But wouldn’t you love to know that the crow who raided your snack bag today was none other than #279, known for his grand escape artistry at the Jardin des Plantes?

Now, let’s talk bird noggin. Turns out these avian Einsteins run a tight neuron ship, which equips them with ape-like savvy. Not to mention their party trick of holding a grudge – longer than Aunt Mabel holds onto her 1980s shoulder pads.

Cut to Joshua Klein and his Ted Talk – a “crow vending machine”, talk about a match made in Heaven! The plan was smart: train crows to be trash collectors, but even with caps and coins involved, it wasn’t a free lunch for the crows. They just couldn’t be bothered with the noisy gizmo when the whole city is their buffet. Eureka moments were had, just not by the crows.

Then came Mollaret who swung for the fences with his vending machine for crows in Marseille. Despite the birds living the high life with brainy escapes and Mcdonald’s treasure hunts, his grand vision was still grounded in prototypes and part-time attention.

It’s fascinating how these crows are not just living with us; they’re schooling us in the art of coexistence. They’ve hacked the system - our cities are theirs to command. Independence is their game, and boy, aren’t they acing it?

And the pièce de résistance of the Parisian crow drama has to be Green 279, with his mixed signals of love and loathing toward humans. He’s like the cawing embodiment of “I hate how much I love you”.

Wrapping up, I realized that the real magic isn’t just in the bird brains but in the connections we make. Maybe it’s not about training crows to be our garbage collectors, but rather learning to appreciate the nuances of their world and personalities. Maybe, just maybe, it’s about finding that “viewpoint in common” that Eiseley spoke of. And in the process, perhaps we end up solving a puzzle bigger than any we could put before them. We begin to see not what separates us but what brings us together, and that’s nothing short of magic.

Until next time, keep your eyes to the skies, future self – there’s wisdom in those wings.

Unagi signing off,

Caw-caw and over!