Yesterday, our class took a trip to one of the world’s two raven facilities for cognitive research. Ravens are smarter animals than you’d think, since whenever someone mentions cognitive research on animals they instinctively think dolphins and apes. We spent more than 2 hours listening and observing the behavior of the birds, taking notes and trying to build an ethogram (a list of all the behaviors an animal can display). We didn’t come up with much, but whatever little we had, made a great discussion. Also, we found out how hard it is to design experiments within this particular field of research. It’s just hard, not impossible and that is one of the things making cognitive research so interesting.
I did manage to record two videos of their behaviors when they learned of our presence. We were told to keep our hands to ourselves since these birds weren’t used to people, and if we were too curious the birds would probably prove the strength of their bills to our poor hands. “It’d most definitely result in blood”, our professor said. That made me want to touch one, they’re so majestic. Also telling me I can’t do something makes me want to do it even more. Just to prove people wrong.
At the aviary, 7 birds are kept for research. Of the 7, 3 are siblings and they’re all hand-raised and very accustomed to the people that handle them. All of the birds were only younglings, barely 1 year old. Interestingly, the dominant birds, one male and two females, were siblings.
I have yet to figure out how to convert my videos so I can upload them here. I’m too lazy to upload them on youtube and then link them.
//c_Cae; preps for the literature seminar tomorrow!