Sunday 23rd of January 2022

the intent of behaviour...

butterfly

Animals are more intelligent than we think. For example this morning I witnessed something very cunning...

Two cabbage moth were frolicking amongst the plants and suddenly a large black butterfly (Papilio ambrax, Boisduval, 1832) came by... The cabbage moth went up and attacked the black butterfly fiercefully. They could not hurt him so much really but as they attacked it from two sides, they were corralling it towards a large spider web. There was intent... several times, just before touching the web, the black butterfly zoomed up, the two moths in pursuit and back again... eventually, the black butterfly flew away and the two moths came back to the cabbage flowers that have been blooming since spring... This level of intent in such animals was amazing...

Meanwhile in the pigeon loft:

By now, the intelligence of birds is well known. Alex the African gray parrot had great verbal skills. Scrub jays, which hide caches of seeds and other food, have remarkable memories. And New Caledonian crows make and use tools in ways that would put the average home plumber to shame.

Pigeons, it turns out, are no slouches either. It was known that they could count. But all sorts of animals, including bees, can count. Pigeons have now shown that they can learn abstract rules about numbers, an ability which until now had been demonstrated only in primates.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/23/science/pigeons-can-learn-higher-math-as-well-as-monkeys-study-suggests.html?_r=1&hp

Who has not noticed how small birds — Australian minahs — often attack much bigger ones, such as crows, magpies and currawongs...?