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Crows Can Use Mirrors to Find Food

Would you be able to find something if you could only look at it through a mirror? Crows can.

This puts them among a small group of species, including humans, dolphins, chimpanzees, elephants and magpies, who have been shown to be able to process mirror information.

In some cases, the tests have shown that these animals can recognize themselves in a mirror. And in a recent experiment in New Zealand, researchers demonstrated that crows could find hidden food items by seeing their reflection in a mirror. All ten crows they worked with were able to find the food.

“We were surprised by how quickly the crows learnt to use a mirror reflection to locate hidden food,” said Dr. Felipe Rodriguez. “Usually, it takes longer for an animal to start using the properties of mirrors to have access to otherwise non-visible objects.”

Dr. Rodriguez noted that one thing that was different in this experiment was that the crows were all wild, and not captive bred. (We hope the crows were all released back into the wild after the experiment!)

Read the whole story, including about some research with blue tits and great tits, at the BBC. Full details of the research are published in the journal Animal Behavior.

See also this article about how dolphins have passed the mirror self-recognition test.