By Troy Headrick
Yesterday, on a hot day in South Texas, I spent a portion of the afternoon mowing the grass in my backyard. While doing so, I witnessed something amazing. In fact, what I saw made such an impression that it inspired the questions I’m about to put to you.
As soon I started running my mower across the terrain, a sizeable group of crow-like birds began to fly in from all directions and land very near my mower. In fact, they seemed not to be at all intimidated by the loud machine.
I had seen this happen before, each time I mowed. The birds knew that all manner of edible life-forms would be easier to spot in the much shorter grass. In fact, I noted that several of them were immediately successful. Some held tiny lizards and worms and such in their beaks as they strolled around me while I worked. Furthermore, they seemed to understand that they had to act quickly before their prey had time to realize what had taken place and therefore conceal themselves by burrowing down deeper into the turf, nearer the roots.
This hunting and gathering continued the whole time I mowed. Furthermore, the birds would follow me as I moved from one part of the yard to another. It occurred to me that I was being used by them to further their own purposes.
This was a wonderful example of animal intelligence, of creatures thinking critically, behaving opportunistically, and doing some pretty clever problem solving.
So, with my story in mind, here are my questions:
What are your thoughts about the “intelligence” of nature? Have you ever witnessed any animals or plants behaving in ways that seemed to be amazingly ingenious? If so, please share what you’ve seen.
I look forward to reading the many interesting stories you include in your comments.
Troy Headrick’s personal blog can be found here.
If you’d like to see some of Troy’s art, have a look.