Human Journey

Life in the Field: Building Things in the Land of Crows

My plexiglass pieces survived the 22 hour trip from Santa Barbara, California to New Caledonia and I appear to have skipped the jet lag!

Alright, I’m in New Caledonia so I can start testing crows right? Wrong! First I have to build all of my apparatuses from all of the plexiglass I brought over. This more than fills my first few days here, which have been intense. Super glue and duct tape and spray paint… As well, Sarah Jelbert, Brenna Knaebe (PhD students at the University of Auckland), and I are putting the finishing touches on the aviary, which Gavin Hunt from the University of Auckland so beautifully built.

New Caledonia is full of dramatic mountains, tiny towns, and ocean views.

Ocean view from the mountains. Photo by Corina Logan.
Noumea. Photo by Corina Logan.
Noumea. Photo by Corina Logan.
Dramatic mountains. Photo by Corina Logan.
Dramatic mountains. Photo by Corina Logan.
Mountain views from the car. Photo by Corina Logan.
Mountain views from the car. Photo by Corina Logan.
Sunrise. Photo by Corina Logan.
Sunrise. Photo by Corina Logan.

One of my favorite things to do in tropical countries is to taste all of the fruit I’ve never seen before. My colleague, Alex Taylor, and I found an unknown fruit for sale on the side of the road so we decided to try it…tastes like grapefruit only sweeter. Yum!

Alex Taylor and our mystery fruit. Photo by Corina Logan.
Alex Taylor and our mystery fruit. Photo by Corina Logan.

Listening to a bunch of bird species calling that I don’t know,
Corina

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And now for a bit of Terry Pratchett…
“There was a little tinkling sound from somewhere near the base of the Hogswatch tree.
The raven backed away from the shards of one of the glittering balls.
‘Sorry,’ it mumbled. ‘Bit of a species reaction there. You know…round, glittering…sometimes you just gotta peck–’”

(Pratchett 1996, p.69, Hogfather)

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NEXT: Who Are You Calling a Bird Brain?

For my PhD at the University of Cambridge, I studied what birds in the crow family do after they fight: do they make up with each other or go to someone else for support? Now I am a Junior Research Fellow at the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara. With the help of a National Geographic Society / Waitt Grant, I study what birds know about their physical and social worlds. (Photo copyright Rod Rolle)

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