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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Crow-Sledder

On the site of the Atlantic you will find a totally fascinating
Youtube video
shot in Russia. Apparently in Russia they have a species of some especially heady crows, birds that are already widely known for their unusual smarts, because these ones have been known to use the roofs of those onion-shaped structures atop the Kremlin for some extra-curricular sport.

Somehow this one particular crow got hold of a big jar lid and discovered that it would make an excellent sled for sliding down the steeply pitched, snow- or ice-covered metal roofs of buildings. This video shows him or her placing the lid on the top edge of a roof, giving it a little shove to start it sliding downward and then jumping on top of it for a ride of 8, 10, or 12 feet, before being stopped by snow, at which point he or she picks up his precious impromptu sled with his beak and flies in an instant back up to the ridgeline for a repeat performance. He also tries an adjoining roof but finds that it doesn't meet his requirements, and he quickly returns to the fun spot.

Normally extended comment sections can and usually do deteriorate into being a big pain, but the one for this video on the Atlantic is some equally fun stuff from the beginning to wherever it ends, because in it numerous people try to come up with reasonable ideas about how this crow came to do this and what it all means in the greater scheme of things. And believe me these commenters come up with a LOT of ideas, especially when it comes to evolution, and it's great.

Generally they argue about whether the crow is working (for instance doing food-gathering of some sort) or playing. I'm stoutly on the side of those who say he's playing. Crows are like squirrels. They spend a lot of time just running around, seeing what's up.

I know this, because we have crows living with us, as I suppose everybody does who lives in the country, and I enjoy having them around, though they can be noisy at times, and I can't always resist the temptation to join in their debates, though I can tell by the silence that my contribution always receives that something must be grievously wrong with my accent, though certainly not with my line of reasoning.


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