Segments in this Video

Bran the Raven (02:29)


Birds are more intelligent than commonly thought. Bird trainer Lloyd Buck talks about the training and problem solving skills of his raven, Bran. Bran demonstrates his ability to access food.

Birds Using Tools (11:13)

Animals use tools for problem solving. In the 1960s, Jane Goodall discovered other animals create and use tools as well. The corvid bird family developed straighter beaks to help with tool usage.

Bird Behavior (09:18)

Other animals in addition to crows, appear to have advanced problem solving and planning skills. Insect expert Adam Hart explains the way bees communicate and gather enough food for winter. Many animal behaviors that appear complex are instinctual.

Corvid Mind (06:34)

Scientist Nicola Clayton is working to understand the bird family that includes ravens, crows, and rooks. She demonstrates the corvids' understanding of cause and effect.

Bird Innovation (08:10)

Cockatoos are curious birds, which assists in innovation. A cockatoo can open a lock box that he watched others open. Being able to transfer knowledge helps humans and animals plan for the future.

Birds' Sense of Time (06:07)

Clayton studies if birds can remember the past and plan for the future. She experiments to see if scrub jays can learn and plan from their experiences.

Bird Cultures (05:39)

Scientists are researching the theory that animals that live in groups are better problem solvers. Alex Taylor is studying if New Caledonian crows can share tool-making knowledge.

Credits: Bird Genius (01:13)

Credits: Bird Genius

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Bird Genius

Part of the Series : Inside Animal Minds
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



When it comes to intelligence, we humans are clearly the most gifted animals around. But what make us so special? Is it our ability to make and use tools? To solve complex problems? Or plan for the future? It might seem that way, but today, researchers are discovering other creatures with impressive brains that have mastered all those skills. Surprisingly, many are bird brains. Crows bend and shape sticks to create custom-made spears for hunting grubs, and they are just one among a growing list of bird species whose impressive problem-solving abilities are shocking scientists and revolutionizing our understanding of animal intelligence. At the head of the class, we meet animals like Muppet, a cockatoo with a talent for picking locks; 007, a wild crow on a mission to solve an eight-step puzzle for the first time ever; and Bran, a tame raven who can solve a puzzle box so quickly that his performance has to be captured with high-speed photography. But are these skills really evidence of high intelligence, or just parlor tricks, the result of training and instinct? To find out, NOVA tests the limits of some of the planet's brainiest animals, searching for the secrets of a problem-solving mind.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL131254

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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