Corvids are among the smartest animals on the planet, and Mo reports that the United States military considered tactical uses for their intelligence. The dream of “spy crows” sprang from research conducted at the University of Washington, where researchers donned rubber masks in the likenesses of Dick Cheney and ‘cavemen’ to study facial recognition among crows. Perhaps untrue to form, the cavemen molested the crows while the Dick Cheneys left them alone. For months and even years afterward, the crows harassed anyone seen wearing a caveman mask on campus. Now all the Pentagon needs is the face-maker from Mission: Impossible. And a new bad guy.
Next, Greg Laden considers the advantages having of the bald eagle instead of the turkey as a symbol of national identity. Eagles may be petty bird bullies and thieves, but if the United States held itself to be a turkey, we’d be eating ourselves for Thanksgiving (or else imitated) with cranberry sauce. And when Congress protects the bald eagle from extinction, it helps “all the other life forms that free rode on those regulations, including osprey, [and] other birds high up on the food chain.” That’s a few more wings in the sky, at least for now.
- US military planned using spy crows to find Osama bin Laden on Neurophilosophy
- How do you ID a dead Osama anyway? on Observations of a Nerd
- When is a bird a real turkey? on Greg Laden’s Blog