Dr. Alex Taylor from The University of Auckland has demonstrated that New Caledonian crows have the ability to perform causal reasoning, which is the ability to infer that something you cannot see may be the cause of something. According to the article, this is the first study to experimentally demonstrate this ability in a species other than humans.
Here's an alternative explanation, that might or might not have any merit: the crows know that the stick comes from behind the blind, and see the human (whom they might trust as a member of their social group) enter the blind and leave safely. Rather than figuring that the stick movement was caused by the human, they see that the human has been exposed to the stick without being harmed and do not fear the stick. Crows socially mob potential predators, so perhaps seeing a member of their group (assuming that crows, like dogs, can incorporate humans into their social structure and have had the opportunity to do so) investigate a potential threat and deem it harmless would reduce their anxiety about that threat.
I really don't know much about crows, though - what do folks with more knowledge think about this idea? It surely assumes some intelligent thinking, but not in the same way as "humans cause stick movement."
Next time someone calls me a birdbrain, I will take it as a compliment. :-)
Surely the crow was just unsure if the human was going to enter the second time, since it had seen evidence of this happening previously?
Hey, that's great.I've never imagined that crows (or any other birds) can be so intlneigelt. The most impressive is that their behavior is propagating between them.But imagine teaching them something wrong how to unlearn them doing such things this can be a interesting question from security point of view.