Thursday, 14 May 2009

Juvenile Greenfinch and Intelligent Rook

Firstly updates - the juvenile Blackbird I saw in the garden yesterday is back again today so it must have found somewhere safe to spend the night. At least one Hedgehog continues to visit each night.

Today I had a juvenile Greenfinch in the garden. It seemed to be feeding itself quite happily from a dandelion which had gone to seed. Also it spent a short while finding scattered seed on the lawn.

From time to time I have found one of the fat ball feeders on the ground. Today was the first time I have managed to see who is responsible. Fortunately I had the camcorder set up in the kitchen and was able to film the action. This Rook has obviously learned that it is a lot easier to get at the fat balls when they are on the ground rather than having to balance on a thin metal bracket. The first section is slowed down to make it easier to see how the bird goes about unhooking the feeder. The picture is a bit grey as the light was reflecting off the kitchen window in that direction.

Who knows what they will get up to next.


  1. Well either your birds are ahead of ours John or I'm spending too much time on the computer and not enough watching the birds but I haven't seen any juveniles of any description yet! I'm so glad you have seen the young Blackbird again today.

    The videos are both good stuff but the Rook...well! I couldn't believe my eyes, there was no dragging, it just unhooked it! Amazing, how very clever, I did laugh and had to call HLH from his work in the study to look, he loved it too.

  2. Thanks for the comment Jan:
    While out walkies I saw three seed feeders lying on the ground in a front garden under the pole they hang on. I guess the Rook unhooker is doing the rounds as there has been no wind to speak of. It must have done this before as it so clearly knew what it had to do to get past the hook. Really amazing how clever some birds are.

  3. Now that is one very clever Rook! Top marks for his ingenuity.
    And good to see the young Greenfinch feeding himself like that.
    Both excellent clips John.

  4. Rooks are probably part of the corvid family. Crows and Ravens.

    Exceptionally smart birds.

    Two good books about Ravens.

    "Ravens in Winter"

    "The Mind of the Raven"

    Both by Bernd Heinrich

  5. That "bird brain" is certainly smart enough to get what it wants!

  6. Great that the young ones are visiting your garden John - not seen any in mine yet..

    That's some smart Rook - amazing how it knew just what to do, to get the feeder off the hook!

    I'm so glad you got your video equipment sorted; am really enjoying your "footage" :D

  7. Just came across your blog and thought I'd say hello. Birds are fascinating creatures, and I enjoyed watching your videos and photos. The rook was indeed amazing ~ there are a few youtube videos of birds, and particularly corvids, using their ingenuity. Our sea birds (western Canada) are often seen dropping shells on rocks to break them open. However, crows have been known to try their 'hand' dropping golf balls, without any luck at all! I have a few bird feeders in my garden, and I think I will try and take more videos rather than just snapshots, thanks to your lively blog :)

  8. Thank you Keith. The corvids are certainly able to reason things out to get what they want.

    Ron: Thanks for visiting and for the information. Yes indeed, there are some very smart corvids about.

    Mick: I wonder which are the smart 'bird brains' in your part of the world.

    Tricia: I was really surprised to see young ones about as I though we would be well behind the warmer parts of the country. I'm still trying to improve the quality of the video a little. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Hi Glo: Many thanks for visiting and your kind comments. There are some activities which are easier to show with video as opposed to a series of still pictures so it is nice to be able to use either, or sometimes both. There are certainly many ingenious birds about and some are only recently being investigated in any detail.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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