The Brainy Raven

15th JULY AND 29TH JULY at 7:30pm

This film features Ellias a four year old male raven living in the Konrad Lorenz Institute Austria. He is part of a pioneering project run by Dr. Thomas Bugnyar who is researching raven intelligence. Ellias is his star pupil and brings new meaning to the phrase ‘bird brain’.

Immortalised in folklore as villains, they are indeed conniving, calculating but also very very clever. Scientists now refer to them as ‘primates of the sky’ – and watching Ellias in action – we can see why.

When not showing off his singing skills, Ellias demonstrates an elaborate game of strategy to protect food. Called ‘caching’ this game of bluff and counter bluff is regularly played out by ravens and Dr. Bugnyar refers to it as ‘a cognitive arms race’.

Ellias also has some remarkable creative skills and is sophisticated problem solver. But what might come as a surprise to many is not just that ravens and other relatives in the corvid family are highly intelligent, but they also love to have fun whether rolling in the snow or demonstrating their incredible aerial acrobatics.

Brainy raven Ellias is even adding a new skill to this repertoire; he’s learning to use a computer. And through this he may help us one day crack the code to a corvid’s mind.

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