Yellowstone Geo Blogs

Bird Brains of Yellowstone

One winter back in the mid-nineties, I was traveling around Yellowstone on a snowmobile doing sound for an NHK film crew.  At one particular stop, I believe it was Black Sand Basin, several snowmobiles were parked while their drivers were viewing the hotsprings.  As I walked back to my snowmobile, I witnessed a raven land on a backpack bungied to one of the parked snowmobiles.  He/she deftly grabbed the zipper on top of the backpack and zipped it open.  The coal black grifter then stuck it's head into the pack and pulled out a cellphone which it promptly threw to the ground.  Then ducking its head into the unzipped backpack again, the black forager pulled out a fully wrapped Snickers Bar.  It glanced around with bar in beak to make sure a clean getaway was possible, then flew away with the fat Snickers Bar.  At that time, I was amazed to see the thoughtful process of the Yellowstone raven.  Now, Dr. Alex Taylor, a scientist in the UK has empirically shown the incredible intelligence of the crow.  Watch the video below from the BBC Youtube Channel!