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November 2nd 2023

Are Birds Really “Birdbrained”?

The Société d'ornithologie de la Vallée du Richelieu (SOVDR) invites you to this talk by Louis Lefebvre on intelligence and innovation in birds (in French).

Free for SOVDR members and people under 14; $10 for non-members.

Registration required: Space limited.

Talk description

Birds have long had a reputation of being dumber than mammals. However, some birds display amazing innovative behaviours and are as smart as most monkeys, with even more neurons than monkeys in the part of their brain that corresponds to our cortex.

This talk will shed light on the extraordinary abilities of certain birds, like the New Caledonian crow and the New Zealand kea. It will show how a new method for estimating the intelligence of thousands of species of birds is helping us answer questions that researchers have been asking for years. Questions like: Are birds that innovate, meaning birds that find new ways to feed themselves, more likely to move to new countries and become invasive species? Are innovative birds at less risk of extinction? Are migratory birds more innovative than birds that winter and summer in the same place? Do innovative birds live longer? How are the brains of innovative and non innovative birds different? And finally, what does all this mean for the evolution of human intelligence?

About Louis Lefebvre

Louis Lefebvre is an emeritus professor of biology at McGill University and an honorary researcher with CREAF at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. He is the author of “Têtes de linotte ? Innovation et intelligence chez les oiseaux” [Birdbrained? Bird innovation and intelligence], published this year by Éditions du Boréal.

La couverture du livre de Louis Lefevbre "Tetes de linotes? Innovation et intelligence chez les oiseaux"


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