Avian Einsteins

The uncanny intelligence and emotion of smart birds—and how they're like humans

First Flight

Explorations into the remarkable mind and behavior of the family corvidae

For most of my life as an artist/naturalist, ravens, crows, magpies and jays have been a constant source of inspiration and fascination. These attractive and sagacious species have inspired my best efforts at interpreting their beauty in line and form and describing what I and others have witnessed of their complex behavior.

My coauthor John Marzluff and I have discovered that, throughout the northern hemispheres, these species have invited human inquiry, invigorated the creative mind to record and test their mental abilities, and pay them tribute artistically. That they share not only the wilderness, suburban and urban environments with us, but also have in common many human characteristics, only adds to our fascination with them.

We want to create a forum where we might sustain a dialogue with the observant public regarding these species. Here we can share observations and pose questions, and, with our forthcoming book, The Gifts of the Crow, add to the extraordinary accounts of a family of birds with whom we have co-evolved.

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Let’s take our “First Flight” into this conversation.


Tony Angell, author and artist, has written and illustrated more than a dozen books and numerous articles and essays related to natural history. more...

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