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Do Birds Play?
Black Swans, surfing off the Gold Coast of Australia? What's that about?
Do birds play? We think so. And these videos seem to prove it! Here's what BirdNote science advisor, Dennis Paulson, has to say:
For a long time, scientists resisted the idea that animals other than humans played. But more and more observations of a variety of animals doing things that seemed to be nothing more than having fun have convinced most of us that animals do indeed play.
Just as we do, they get more out of it than just plain fun. They get physical and mental exercise, learn more about their environment, and cement bonds between individuals.
Having watched crows and ravens dropping and looping and rising in flight, I have no trouble in labeling as "play" the things you can see these intelligent birds doing in these videos.
We all have seen dogs and cats playing with their caretakers, so interspecific play is easily understood. I’ll have to admit, however, that it is beyond me to understand why a cat would play with an owl or an owl with a cat!