RAVENS- Signs of Danger

RAVENS – Signs of DangerHere’s a program from our archives.ambience: Raven defending her nestThere are clues that tell an animal when it should be on the alert. And the ability to detect those clues may indicate the animal’s level of intelligence. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We’re listening to the sounds of a raven’s alarm call.”Ravens are extremely sensitive to any changes in their environment. Which presupposes that they know what the environment is, quote, supposed to look like.” Bernd Heinrich is a Professor of Biology at the University of Vermont at Burlington He’s been observing raven behavior for fifteen years.”For example, the Eskimos, when they have a cache of meat in the snow, covered up, they stick a raven feather in the snow above the cache then the ravens will not go near the cache. And why should a raven be afraid of a feather? Well, it might just be that feathers just don’t normally stick in the snow like that and to a raven that conflicts with expectations. And I have done lots of experiments where I vary something that seems to be very slight but it’s magnified in the mind of the raven. For example, if I have a round ball in the aviary, you know, they’ll kick it around and don’t pay much attention. But I had a helium balloon and I have it on a string and it was just a few feet above the ground and they they went and hid in their shed and didn’t come down near the ground for two days. So, our expectation would be that an orange for example lays on the ground. It does not float you know, two feet above the picnic table. If it does we’d get freaked out because it conflicts with our expectation of what an orange is supposed to do. And so that implies perhaps knowledge of how things are supposed to be.” And when ravens recognize anomalies in their environment, it may be an indication of how intelligent ravens really are.We’ve been listening to a program from our archives. Check out our website, pulseplanet.com for a link to my latest project – a novel. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

RAVENS- Signs of Danger

How do ravens sense danger in their environment?
Air Date:11/24/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:

RAVENS - Signs of DangerHere's a program from our archives.ambience: Raven defending her nestThere are clues that tell an animal when it should be on the alert. And the ability to detect those clues may indicate the animal's level of intelligence. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We're listening to the sounds of a raven's alarm call."Ravens are extremely sensitive to any changes in their environment. Which presupposes that they know what the environment is, quote, supposed to look like." Bernd Heinrich is a Professor of Biology at the University of Vermont at Burlington He's been observing raven behavior for fifteen years."For example, the Eskimos, when they have a cache of meat in the snow, covered up, they stick a raven feather in the snow above the cache then the ravens will not go near the cache. And why should a raven be afraid of a feather? Well, it might just be that feathers just don't normally stick in the snow like that and to a raven that conflicts with expectations. And I have done lots of experiments where I vary something that seems to be very slight but it's magnified in the mind of the raven. For example, if I have a round ball in the aviary, you know, they'll kick it around and don't pay much attention. But I had a helium balloon and I have it on a string and it was just a few feet above the ground and they they went and hid in their shed and didn't come down near the ground for two days. So, our expectation would be that an orange for example lays on the ground. It does not float you know, two feet above the picnic table. If it does we'd get freaked out because it conflicts with our expectation of what an orange is supposed to do. And so that implies perhaps knowledge of how things are supposed to be." And when ravens recognize anomalies in their environment, it may be an indication of how intelligent ravens really are.We've been listening to a program from our archives. Check out our website, pulseplanet.com for a link to my latest project - a novel. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.