Let me say, by way of introduction that the words "compare and contrast" give me a twinge of 30 year old dread from my high school days. I feel like I suck at these types of writing, which is all the more reason to do it. I have been thinking a lot about avian intelligence, lately, both in terms of my housemates and birds I have experienced in stories or on videos
Human Intelligence has reshaped the world. Where it is too cold to live, we build houses and install furnaces. Where it is too hot, we put in air conditioning...air conditioning- even the name talks about our attitude: we are just making the air tolerable. If where we are going is too far to walk, we learned to ride another creature or build a vehicle with "horsepower". To equalize conflicts with larger creatures, we threw rocks, and then made better and better rock throwers, like guns and bows. Where we want to go, we have laid paths. To tell us what paths to take, we have made maps and GPS units. To tell the time, we have made digital watches. To communicate abstract concepts, we have made an abstract language...lots of them in fact. We cluster together in colonies and Compete with our neighbors for status, better living space and more stuff
Our intelligence seems to be based on our ability to imagine things that are not real. in some cases it leads us to make real what we imagined, such as a new tool, or a piece of fiction. In some cases it leads us to firmly believe in things for which there is no evidence, like "justice" or "truth" or "the American way". We have evolved to realize the ideal and to idealize the unreal.
A Parrot or a Corvid is about as smart as a human toddler, as a point of reference. they can learn a large number of sounds, mimic a large number of words, and in many cases have a good grasp of the meaning of those words they have learned. Their play is imaginative, and in some cases seems highly complex. They are in many cases able to use simple tools, and to find efficient and swift methods for breaking our tools, such as de-keying a keyboard or shredding a laptops power cord to turn our attention back from such a device. I know that my bird seems to learn vocabulary like a human child does- repetition, imitation, and figuring out context- Depending on his mood and wants, I might be "daddy", "hey Shawn" or just "HEY!". I have a theory(not backed by any actual science, just anecdotal) that he has precise quartz time measuring equipment in his belly. This is mainly backed by the fact that he always knows mealtimes to the minute, and exactly when one is late.
To Conclude, I started this off talking about how I was doing this despite the fact that this type of writing dredges up old fears. Fear is a perfectly rational response, even if it is a fear of irrational things, like essays. As humans, we try to control our fear responses, to belittle them, and sometimes force ourselves onto dangerous ground to prove our courage. Courage is another one of those little Ideals we treat as a real thing. Birds...well birds react to their fear. They flee, or gang up on a predator and chase it off, but they never try to pretend the fear isn't there or that it's something silly.
It leaves me a little unsure as to which of us is truly the smarter
for more on birds-
A few of my Co-leaguers had their own comparisons and contrast
Culturally Significant used the Venn Diagram to show us Pop Culture juggernauts old and new
Pop Rewind Compared Ytv with Nickelodeon with a little side of Canada vs USA
Brian from Cool and Collected compared the old and new of those "Damned, Dirty Apes"- Chuck Heston was not harmed in his post
Retro Robot Review gave us the turtles, through the years, in pictures
The Man who Stares at Toys gives us what I know as Jetfire, but you may call a Veritech Fighter
Kalem Klub touches base with the old Twilight Zone and the New one