By Raza H. Tehsin & Arefa Tehsin
Thirsty Crow is a story we all know well and remember. The story is not baseless. Crows are the most intelligent of birds, and they’ve proved it time and again.
On May 26, 1999, we were sitting near an artificial waterhole in the Sumer Rest House in the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary of Udaipur.
During afternoon the movements of animals and birds had slackened. At ten minutes past twelve, a jungle crow came and perched on a branch of a babul tree near the waterhole.
The crow had a big piece of dry roti in its beak. After scanning the area it flew near the waterhole, submerged the roti in water and started eating it. When it had finished half of it, a blue bull came from the jungle. The crow flew away leaving a part of its food near the waterhole.
The next day when we were sitting near the same waterhole at twenty minutes past noon the jungle crow came with a piece of dry roti in its beak and perched on the same tree.
After scanning the area it landed near the waterhole, submerged the dry roti in the water, drank water and removed the roti from the water after four minutes. However, this time the crow flew away from the waterhole with the softened piece of roti in its beak. It had not only devised a method to soften its food but also learned from the previous day’s experience.
We were pleasantly surprised to see the crow’s ingenious behaviour and clever solution. Albert Einstein had rightly said, “We cannot solve the problems we have created with the same thinking that created them.”
Published in Journal of Bombay Natural History Society in 2002