It used to be that having a “bird brain” was an insult. Now, it’s practically a compliment! Turns out the brain of a bird, which is small enough to fit into a nut, is full of neurons. These animals are capable of complex cognition — they can solve problems, count, understand cause and effect, and even communicate in ways that resemble language. Jennifer Ackerman chronicles birds’ intelligence in her book, “The Genius of Birds.” She sits down with Alexander Taylor, an animal psychologist who’s been studying the Caledonian crow — a bird that creates tools and passes on those lessons to younger generations. Flora Lichtman, host of the Gimlet Media podcast “Every Little Thing,” moderates the conversation.
“Aspen Ideas to Go” is a weekly show featuring fascinating speakers who have presented at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other public programs offered by the Aspen Institute. For a curated listening experience, subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or find an archive of episodes here. The views and opinions of the speakers in the podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Aspen Institute.