This is a carefully researched, very readable and superbly illustrated work. There are ten chapters: 1 - Amazing Feats and Deep Connections. 2 - Birdbrains Nevermore. 3 - Language. 4 - Delinquency. 5 - Insight. 6 - Frolic. 7 - Passion, Wrath and Grief. 8 - Risk Taking. 9 - Awareness. 10 - Reconsidering the Crow. There's an illustrated appendix, divided into ten parts, that explains the anatomy and physiology of the crow-brain, and there are extensive source notes and references followed by a helpful index.
Examples of intelligence are given relating to several species in the crow family including Caledonian crows, carrion crows, jackdaws, jays, magpies, ravens and rooks, and birds from a variety of countries, including Canada, England, Indonesia and the US, are involved. Care is taken to analyse the scientific findings to establish the precise kind of learning that has taken place in the minds of these various crow family members. The conclusion is that they are capable of following reasoning patterns similar to the basics underlying similar functions found in the human mind.
Making everything even more interesting is the fact that the evolutionary route taken in the development of bird brains is different from that pursued in the evolution of mammalian brains, a fact which results in bird brains functioning differently from mammalian, including human, brains. Whereas mammals, including humans, have evolved from reptilian ancestors via the mammal-like reptiles, birds have evolved from reptiles via the therapsid dinosaurs. This work explains in an easy to follow fashion how all this came about and how the highly intelligent crow family is continuing to evolve and adapt to enable it to cope with the man made problems of the modern world.
Although there's much we still have to learn about crow family intelligence our knowledge is increasing all the time as more observations, experiments and intelligence tests are carried out in an increasing number of places. In addition to this kind of information, this work is packed with fascinating accounts of various people's relationships with members of the crow family.
The work is helpfully illustrated by Tony Angell's superb illustrations, which enhance the text in a revealing fashion that even the most inventive photography could not have achieved. In addition, the artist has created eight helpful illustrations explaining the working of the crow brain plus one drawing explaining the bird's nervous system. Text and drawings compliment each other in a fashion that fosters the easy assimilation of a whole hoard of inspiring facts about the intelligence of the crow family. This book is a great read and thoroughly recommended