I think birds understand more about us than we do about them. This penguin seemed to have me figured out. I had no idea what was on his mind. He seemed quite curious and unafraid. But, if he didn’t like me he is perfectly capable of regurgitating his stomach contents at me to discourage my presence. All I can say is that I am glad he seemed to like me! Birds in the far southern latitudes are less afraid of humans because they see much less of them. Smart birds.
Owls have stereoscopic vision and incredible hearing. They can detect the vertical location of sound origin by differential recognition in each ear.
Did you know seagulls like this guy in a La Jolla hotel stole silver napkin rings off guest tables for years and flew away with them. Years later, during renovations, a huge pile of the napkin rings was found in an old bell tower.
When I look birds in the eye, I see an uncanny intelligence there. It is especially obvious with the raptors like this Sea Eagle,
and the Red Tail Hawk. There is an IQ scale that has been developed for birds. Hawks are among the most intelligent.
Corvids like ravens, crows and magpies, remember the faces of people who do bad things to them for years. Most wild birds must be quite accustomed to a human before they will let you get anywhere near them. Smart birds. Starlings like this Superb Starling are capable of understanding grammatical rules and are being studied by linguists because their vocal recognition abilities surpass those of Tamarin monkeys.
Who said bird-brained meant dumb?
Must have been some human-brain, who never took much time to get to know birds. The roadrunners have our daily routine down pat! They are surreptitious spies, and like to watch us when they know we won’t see them. They jump on a patio table and spy on Jim when he eats breakfast. They spy on both of us while we sleep. I often crack one eye open in bed in the morning to see the roadrunner staring at me through the French Doors. They let me get close…….when they feel like it.
Parrots are being studied for their logical thinking abilities that are said to be similar to that of a four year old child and the great apes. Birds cognitive abilities currently being studied include their ability to count, distinguish visual and auditory signals, use tools, learn through observation, engage in sophisticated communication and they are even being studied for possessing a “theory of mind,” being able to predict how other animals (read humans) will behave.
Smart birds. This Thrasher in Tortola is taking the measure of me. If you take some time to look a bird in the eye, you may see an intelligent creature looking right back at you.
I wonder what they think of us?
Cheers to you from all the world’s wonderful, and quite clever, birds~
For more info check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_intelligence
177 thoughts on “Look Me in the Eye: Birds~”
I have not seen any photos of penguins this close — great capture on all of them!
If you can get to where wild penguins live, I understand you can get right up close to them because they really don’t fear people.
Penguins are just as adorable and beguiling as everyone says!
Oh wow these are amazing shots and I think I could see what the gull was thinking-“feed me”.
Have a nice week end.
Yes!!! That sounds like a gull to me! Laughing~
Amazing bird photos! Made me smile about the napkin rings lol.
Incredible isn’t it!
An amazing lesson Cindy, I learner a great deal from this post….thank you.
Well thank you for reading and for this nice comment~
Great photos. Birds are such great subjects.
I agree with you on this, but I agree with you on most everything~
Such gorgeous creatures! Thank you for the bird’s eyes views! 😉
Thank you for appreciating them~
Awesome post, Cindy! Great photos of these birds and I so enjoyed learning about the evidence of their intelligence.
Well than, I am happy I did this post! Thanks much and cheers to you~
Stunning photography once again, Cindy… and as for a bird’s intelligence… I now seem to believe it!
You are a birliever!!!!! 🙂
Wow, Cindy, what a great selection of bird shots. And they are all sharp and well-posed (did you bribe the birds 🙂 ). I knew about ravens remembering people’s faces but starlings understanding grammatical rules? How do they even experiment along those lines…fascinating.
Check out the reference at the end of the post and you can read some of the experiments they are doing. Quite amazing stuff!
Mil grazi my friend~
This was so much fun to view! There is personality, wisdom, humour, joy in each of your profiles. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I really wonder if we are the most advanced species that walk this earth.
I wonder the exact same thing and I suspect from what an excellent job we do of killing each other and destroying the planet, that we may well NOT be!
There was one particular crow who would squawk at me when I went on my daily walk. One day I stood underneath his perch in a pine tree and squawked back at him. He looked me over in puzzlement and squawked again, but this time it was shorter and somewhat softer – “squawk, squawk” instead of “squawk, squawk, squawk, squawk, squawk!” I returned a single “squawk” and he just looked at me without uttering another sound. From that day forward, he never squawked at me again. I could always recognize the ruffled feathers he had on one wing.
I have been imitating bird calls since I was a little kid. They seem to like it and respond to it. The crow had accepted you. Very cool~
fascinating post Cindy, and wonderful photos! I love birds and that intelligent look in their eyes, our local magpies and king parrots certainly have us figured out 🙂
Magpies bring people who they like gifts! Parrots and magpies are two very intelligent birds! We don’t have either. Darn it!
Cindy, amazing shots. Birds do have great intelligence. It’s fun to watch them. 🙂
They are endlessly entertaining! The hummingbirds land on me all the time now!
Cindy, that is awesome, they are so cute, love them.
Very educational!I never knew those things about birds…caats them in a whole new light!
Thank you for the wonderful visit with our feathered friends. The pictures are beautiful!
Incredible, stunning photos. You are right – the sharp intelligence in the eyes of some of them is stunning.
There has been a historical tradition of assuming birds and other animals are dumb, don’t have feelings, etc. Contemporary science is proving both these assumptions quite wrong! So happy you enjoyed~
De belles photos !!! Bonne journée !
Merci beau coup mon ami!
Wow Cindy this is very interesting,thank you for sharing this about the birds.
Just happy you found it interesting Ranu & cheers to you~
Wonderful Cindy. Nothing like looking nature in the eye. 🙂
Cannot be beat! I agree~
Beautiful photos, and I have no doubt that birds are very intelligent. After all, I wouldn’t like my chances of catching a worm for breakfast, or an insect on the wing, not to mention navigating my way across the world like our tiny godwits.
And the little hummingbirds migrate up to 2000 miles…….now one knows how they navigate!
It’s just awesome, isn’t it!
Truly is & cheers to you~
the title is very funny, i like it 🙂
Thank you and I am glad!! Cheers~
You’re the John James Audobon of bloggers. Love these birds captured by your excellent photography skills!!!
You are very kind and appreciated!
This is a beautiful, yet educational post! Enjoyed reading about their intelligence. I didn’t know that seagulls appreciate silver napkin rings 🙂 Thank you, Cindy! Great weekend!
Before they found the stash, I was assuming they liked to set an elegant table~
Good article about bird intelligence. I have seen video (a long time) about bird (crow?) used tool (stick) to get the food of a bottle. That is a problem solving using tool which normally related to high level of intelligence (monkeys and us are most notorious).
The penguin regurgitates his/her stomach contents might be a sign of affectionate (cat drop a dead mouse at your door step) 🙂
Those are beautiful pictures!
Yes, different species of birds do give gifts! I think I saw the video you are referring to and I thought it was fascinating too! Interesting comments my friend!
You have captured such comical looks, made me LOL. Except for the raptors, who are far too regal to laugh at. The seagull looks like a professional comedian about to deliver his best line. And, of course parrots are always a delight. Have an enjoyable weekend. 😀
Seagulls have to provoke more responses in us then any other bird. They can be comical, beautiful in the air, enjoying when they swoop down and steal your picnic sandwich! Laughing…..
What a enjoyable and educational post, Cindy. Nicely done. I must confess that the sea eagle was my favourite.
I actually walked to within a few yards (or so it seemed at the time) of a bald eagle once, while hiking in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Magnificent.
Getting a few yards from a bald eagle would be an incredible experience. I was in Cape Breton, so gorgeous!
It is. My favourite place to go camping, so far.
Wow your bird photos are awesome! I love reading your stories about them too! It’s amazing to me how smart some of them are!! Hugz Lisa and Bear
Reblogged this on blondiesBEARista and commented:
I love Cindy’s photos, she has wonderful tidbits too about the subjects!
You are so kind Lisa and I am most honored by your reblog! Thank you. Cheers to you and Bear and have a great weekend!
These portraits are fabulous. You have captured each one with their character in place. Congratulations.
This is such a thoughtful comment and it is much appreciated too! Thank you~
Great photos as usual. Love the napkin ring story. How close to the birds were you when you took these shots?
Most pretty close. Close ups of birds work best when you are pretty close and zoom up to the face. I love getting close to birds!
Amazing shots. I never manage to get close enough for amazing shots like yours. You are so right about the intelligence. The robins in my yard line up along my roof line when I start loosening the soil in my garden. When they figure I’ve exposed enough earthworms for the day they start “yelling” at me to leave. When they finally get to the space to have lunch — if I return too soon — they give me a look like — “could she possibly be any ruder? — we’re still eating!” Keep the happy photos coming — its snowing here again today — they really cheer me up. 😀
Oh I love this story and it does perfectly illustrate their ability to adapt to new circumstances, learn and plan. Amazing!
What marvelous images! Birds are just fascinating creatures-
They are so different from us and that makes them fascinating, I agree completely!
These are magnificent captures… so impressive… love it…
Well then this post was worth it! Mil grazi~
What an incredible close up look at each other – human to bird/bird to human. There is no doubt in my mind that if we listen to our senses, we will see ourselves and more in all the creatures among us.
Very true and important to point out. We are connected to all the living things on this planet. Great point Dor. If people were more aware of this, we might take better care of our fellow living creatures!
Yes, these close up shots are great.
Well thanks so much for the nice compliment and for stopping by!
These are amazing! The napkin ring story is hilarious! Pilfering birds!
Plifering and stashing birds! Amazing indeed~
I don’t have to study them to know they are smart. They are. Your photographs are amazing, as always. Just beautiful. I wish we would let them alone to live and stop keeping them in cages to learn about them. We should put scientists in cages and try to figure out why they think it’s okay to do what they do. THAT is something i would like to know.
Touche’ It is hard to envision birds in cages when one realizes how intelligent they are, and how social they are, and how much they like to fly everyday. It would be beneficial if we did accord animals a better set of basic rights.
Loved the bird’s eyes. The amber of the owl eyes is so beautiful. What is it about a colored circle with a black dot in it that is so ( can’t even think of a word) ?
I am fascinated with my own gravatar. lol
Owls are fascinating and mysteriously elusive creatures, and their pupils are amazing, especially when you see them large at night!
The Thrasher looks as if it’s saying, “Hey, I said no photograph!”
Laughing……I have a penguin baby that I snapped who squeezed her eyes shut as if saying the exact thing!!! I should post. It is adorable & hilarious!
I can’t wait to see it, Cindy!
Love your pictures!
Well that makes me feel great! Thanks~
When my son was 6, I took him on a special outing for his birthday, which included him feeding the penguins! That’s a fascinating post, Cindy.
I can tell that outing stuck in your mind and was very special! Thank you Sarah & cheers to you~
These are such delightful photographs of these birds, especially the ones looking straight at the camera. Their eyes seem to warn, “Don’t mess with me.” and with those beaks and claws, I wouldn’t!
I get close to the red tails and their talons are so lethal. In some sunlight they shine silver like knives! They are capable of doing some serious damage to those who do not respect their ways~
Cindy, Would you mind if I re-blog this on DominoParkComics.com. I never re-blog because I have a set theme, but this is so wonderful, I think my readers will love it.
Awwwww. I am completely honored and so very appreciative! Thank you & I love your blog!
Incredible close-ups, Cindy. Yes, that Sea Eagle does look as though he’s thinking deep thoughts. 🙂
Amazingly powerful bird! I was so impressed by him!
I cAn hardly wait for a whole new season of your posts and pics.
Yay!! Than I am most happy to provide!
Hawks, hummingbirds, flowers….I’m pumped!
I do wonder whether the religious tradition of denying souls to non humans blinded us – many generations on – to their actual capacities and when research started it started with the closest link, the monkeys.
This was a fascinating post, both for the superb photographs and for the content.
What a fascinating premise. I know my mother and grandparents bought in to the idea that animals were less than humans in every way. Both generations highly educated, both denying the existence of higher cognitive functioning in animals. My mother probably still believes this and doesn’t much relate to posts like this one! Laughing. I think you are right on accurate. Couple the religious argument with the past generation’s focus on development, human superiority, rational man arguments and scientific progress through animal experimentation, and the stage was set for an animal, and natural world apocolpyse, which is pretty much what has happened.. Sad. I wonder if we can turn it around?
Maybe he knew he was posing for an Artist and would be admired by hundreds! 🙂
Well I could believe it for one maybe! But all of them? Not so much……Laughing~
I’m pinning a couple these gorgeous shots! You really know how to get in there and intimate! 😉
I am honored Resa! Have I told you, you rock…….Yes, I suspect so!! It’s true~
“lol” We have a great time out here in WP world!
Just sent you an email my friend. Hugs & more hugs~
an interesting post as it is arresting. No bird brains there–but featuring the head (almost exclusively) is such a unique perspective. The eyes have it for me; those raptors are seXe birds…:)
No sexe is one thing I never considered!!! Maybe to a raptor of the opposite gender…..but I do admit they are good looking! Laughing……you are hilarious!! I lost my emoticon cheat list so I can’t send you a wink……
yeah–I am nutty, but they are a seXe bird. Dangerous and predatory looking–and so capable of backing up that bat-i-tude…:)
I am en-raptor-ed…:)
Well if you are en-raptor-ed, you should come out to The Holler and see if one will sweep you off your feet……but I afraid you’d be in for a big let down….literally! 🙂
oh Cindy–please fix brian to read brain–er–that is a little embarrassing!! lOl!!
I think it’s kinda sweet you think he’s sexy and named him Brian…….Now I really need to send you some winks!!! Laughing. I will fix it……darn it!
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I enjoy my birds. While away I got to see a few up close – An Ibis with a curved beck that was able to catch flung bread before it hit the ground. I think I also saw vultures resting with their wings open in the everglades, to catch the warmth or to cool off in the morning.
I am enjoying the gift of birdseed that my son gave me for the holidays. Spring has brought yellow finch, a red wing black (hadn’t seen one in a couple of years) and of course the standard array of both birds that stay all year and the ones that are returning with the warm weather.
Oh yes the Ibis are fun to watch and not very timid. We had lots in the lawn of our hotel in El Calafate. Just had a gorgeous orange oriel here. Something killed it’s mate, probably an owl or hawk, I saw the victim and when I came back it was gone. First raptor casuality I have seen near our feeders. The yellow finch and red wing must be beautiful! Cheers Jules~
Fun eye shots, Cindy. I love the way you get up close and personal. BTW, there was recently an article in Scientific American (February 2014) about how intelligent chickens are, which raises ethical questions about how they are treated on chicken farms. One interesting story: Hawk flies over and rooster is around his chickens and chicks. He lets out a very specific squawk that tells his brood to take cover. if a competing rooster is around, he remains silent. 🙂 –Curt
This is probably why information about the cognitive capacities of birds was not pursued until recently. It makes it more ethically difficult to abuse them. We live near free range cows now, and I had no idea how intelligent and social they are. We also live several miles from a cage free chicken farm that is beyond disgusting. If this is how they treat cage free chickens, I can’t even imaging the ones in cages. Our domestic anmial agri-big-business is horrible for the animals welfare, and horrible for our health when we eat these animals raised in repulsive conditions. Lose. Lose.
It’s no wonder they hold their heads with such regal dignity.
Yes! We’ve been underestimating them~
I’ve always believed that animals have an intelligence for which we don’t give them credit. I believe when it’s all said and done here, we’re going to be very surprised. . . . Ah, but these photos, once again, are amazing, Cindy.
I agree with you about animal intelligence and appreciate your thoughtful comments! Happy Sunday!
Liked the gull, Cindy. That one is funny!
He’s got birdsanality!!! 🙂
Congratulations, I have nominated you for the “Sunshine Award”. For details please go to http://ronnie-s.com/2014/04/06/sunshine-award-2/ for the details.
You are very kind and I am honored! Thank you sincerely & cheers to you~
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Birds have quiet intelligence, something more humans should possess! These are fantastic shots.
I love that first sentence because it so true!!
Passed and carried unanimously, the eyes have it.
If we can see the eyes in a photo they bring it to life.
I know you are I are in accord Jack, about the wonder of our feathered friends~
This are OMG stunning!
Awwww that is so nice & so appreciated!
truly magnificent creatures, and the eyes! i can’t stop looking at their eyes.
this is a beautiful collection of photographs cindy.
You rock and you make me feel good!! Thank you~
my pleasure Cindy!
You don’t say whether or not you took these photos but I think they are fantastic and worthy of illustrating a book. Great to read your thoughts. Bird behaviour is so interesting – especially when they are watching one gardening – are they opportunists.
Made my Monday morning Cindy
You are very kind and your comments are very much appreciated. Birds are fascinating. Everyday they do something that intrigues and beguiles me. These photos are from all over the world, The Holler to Patagonia. What an amazing world~
Love the bird photographs – the best subjects to study.
I simply cannot get enough of photographing them……they are so beautiful and are probably my favorite subjects~
They all seemed to pose for you. Beautiful.
I wonder if they know they are beautiful?
I love all your beautiful photos of these birds, but that first one has to be my favorite! And I enjoyed learning more about all the different birds. (It might be wicked of me, but I actually envy that penguin a bit. Wouldn’t it come in handy to be able to regurgitate our stomach contents at those who annoy us? :P)
Yes it would!! Laughing. We could lose weight and never say a cross word! As long as someone else had to clean it up! You are hilarious~
Seriously, I would waste away if I had this ability. 😀
I definitely agree with you, Cindy! Birds know more than we give them credit for! Of course, the ones who parrot our speech seem very clever, but the average home pet parakeet usually does know a few things about us. I think that the clever look that birds show us, tilting their heads and chirping so pleasantly, then we respond back in a pleasant tone, it all builds me to assume they are smart! Good post and fun thoughts! Love your photographs! Gorgeous close-ups! Smiles, Robn
I just met a Hyacinth Macaw that knocked my socks off. We had a conversation and then he spun and continued the chat upside down! I have photos to prove it! Laughing….birds are amazing. So glad you think so too! Thanks for stopping by & cheers to you~
Your blog is a tremendous find! Your photos and captions are wonderfully entertaining and thought-provoking.
Our crows are migrating back. I hope to remember that they will remember me, or is that only if I do something that harms them?
I am aware of psychologists studying parrots. I never thought of linguists studying bird language, but when I think of it, of course they do. How fantastic that they are finding it worthwhile: starlings have grammar rules?
I am very relieved to know that the napkin rings were found in a bell tower, not harming birds.
I can only imagine the hundreds of photos you must have sifted through to choose these. They are an amazing set. Thanks for sharing them.
I have just been over at your blog and wrote you a note. I was impressed by your blog, and then even more impressed by you! The crows know you well as someone who hasn’t harmed them. Try clacking at them, imitating their calls, they will have conversations with you. I guess it would have been more accurate to simply say corvids remember faces of people, people they accept in their environments as non-threatening, and they have proven very long memories for people who try to harm them. Wonderful isn’t it? This intelligence in the animals around us. Thank you for your kind comments and your wonderful blog.
What a sweet response, Cindy. I don’t recall how your blog wound up on my “to be read” list, but I’m glad to meet you.
I will work to see what kinds of relationships I can build with our crow and other bird neighbors. I love imitating cat and owl sounds to converse, so I understand what you mean by imitating crow sounds. I feel sorry for them when I see blackbirds team up against them, though I understand that this happens when the crows raid the blackbird nests.
I wish the neighborhood woodchucks and mice would remember who we are, and stay away. Mice keep finding ways into our house and finding things to chew up. A woodchuck mama repeatedly mowed our gardens last summer. I barked at a woodchuck 2 days ago, It ran into the snowy woods. I hope that means that it was a male passing by, not a female taking care of young in a burrow by our house. We meant to follow the Humane Society’s recommendations for discouraging any females from nesting here, but it slipped our minds 🙁
It sounds like you live in a spectacular place! Loved reading your description. What fun~
What stunning photos! You’re right about the intelligence in their eyes – quite disconcerting to think about how we treat these and other lovely creatures.
Yes particularly when you look any animal in the eye! Thank you for stopping by and commenting~
Captivating eyes! All of them! WOW
Merci beau coup! 😛
I clicked on that parrot for a larger look-see and WHOA! That extreme red was powerful for this hour of the morning. Mother Nature has some extreme colors in her paint box!
Yes!! I think she likes to be noticed!! Laughing~
Incredible bird photos. I love them.
Yay!! A fellow bird lover is always most welcome! <3
Cindy, love your pics and comments, and thanks so much for liking my blog posts. This thing says I’m one of your followers, but I don’t seem to get any notification of your posts. Do you know why that is?
If you wish to receive email notification of posts you follow, you can go to manage your blog, blogs I follow, and either tick ONE box to receive email notification on ALL the blogs you follow and choose the frequency, either once a day, week etc. Or you can go the individual blogs you follow and pick and choose the one’s you wish to receive notification from.
This is how it is SUPPOSED to work, However WP notification and reader never seem to work as they are supposed too. Today in my reader for example there were 6 hours of posts available, and then a gap in posts for ONE MONTH!! Eliminating 30 days of posts from my reader, an all time record!
Good luck and may the force by with you! You will need it with WP!!! Laughing~
Wow, loved this. Big bird fan and am the worst at photographing them. These were lovely and enjoyed the commentary as well. So true about all of them.
Awww thanks much. I have just been over at your blog and am most impressed. Heading back their now in fact~
Well that is quite the compliment. Really your work is beautiful. I was looking at the flowers and the texture of the petals was so real I could almost touch them. Just out of curiosity as I was reading your piece on the roadrunner, do you live in the Southwest? I’m in Colorado.
Yes I do. The southern and western most ‘southwest’ in the US at least. I live in a rural, unicorporated part of nothern San Diego County. Definitely some of the last of the wild west out here~
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Hi Cindy. Lovely photos. I love the birds until they mess on my car. Thank you for liking ‘Can You, Those Days and Morgue!’ Also for wanting to follow my poetry adventures. Be Save and Well. The Foureyed Poet.
Cheers & thank you too!
Wow! You are a storehouse, a treasure trove, of fabulous facts! Great presentation and astonishing photos! Loved each one. Thanks!
Well this kind comment will keep me posting! Thank you so much & cheers to you~
Reblogged this on penpowersong.
Gratitude to you~