March 12, 2018
Of course YOU never do this, but you've seen it done. Someone is trying to convey information, and the intended recipient of the information is completely tuning them out.
Of course if the information is really USEFUL, the recipient sometimes tunes back in-- “Eh, you said something about buried treasure?”
Dogs will talk to you in “Dog,” and can be trained to talk a little by mimicking human sounds. Our golden retriever mix can say “I ruvv you” if you say it to her first. She does love you, but I don't know if she knows what she's saying.
“I love you” IS useful information.
I used to volunteer for a wildlife rehab organization. I loved it when crows would chatter at us. They clearly have communication skills among themselves, can be mimics, and have senses of humor.
Some wild birds cannot be returned to the wild after being injured, and have to become permanent guests of the rehabbers. One night I was on my hands and knees spreading newspapers on the floor of the permanent-guest crow room. It was occupied by a raven, a crow, and a magpie. Corvid cousins, loose in the room.
I never felt it, but the crow ("Edgar Allan Crow," to be specific) picked my pocket and took my ring of keys. Delivered it to the magpie, apparently. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the magpie roll its head as it wound up for the toss. I swerved just in time as the keys grazed my hair. As I pivoted to look at them-- still on my hands and knees—all three were gleefully nodding their heads, and either the magpie or the crow...uh, CROWED:
“Oh WELLLLLLL! HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH!”
Now all four of us were laughing.
In Ontario, Canada, a veterinarian and her husband rescued a nest of baby crows. Four of the five survived. The couple taught them to get their own food. They taught the birds to say “hello”, as a greeting. And even though the crows flew south after summer ended... when spring returned ...so did the crows.
And occasionally a crow would call “Hello” to them from a nearby tree.
The couple had a tray-like crow feeder, and they put peanuts in it. They had a GoPro out there to record activity at the feeder. One day a squirrel was in the feeder, and a crow landed on a branch nearby. The crow clearly addressed the squirrel in an “ahem, my dear squirrel, you are eating my peanuts” manner. Or maybe it was just a friendly, “Hey there, mate!” But it was CLEARLY a loud Hello.
You can watch it yourself-- the link is below.
It took two Hellos, but the (much larger) squirrel got the message-- and yielded the feeder. ~~~
Meanwhile, in an animal sanctuary in Botswana-- in which country about a third of the African savannah elephants reside-- elephants are using migratory routes to flee poachers.
And agriculture...and urbanization...and wars.
They travel by night. Poachers operate in daylight,
Elephant herds can communicate via sound, infrasound, gestures...and the elephant family's elder, experienced matrons will signal when they think it's time to charge-- or run away.
They have been shown to be MUCH more relaxed when approached by farmers than by spear-carrying warriors. As would we all.
(Even though certain shall-we-say-pachyderms may be guilty of shall-we-say helping themselves to some of the farmers' crops... )
But get this. They can distinguish between the VOICES and SCENTS of the farmers and the warriors, before they SEE them!
(What a gift! I wish I had that ability. To tell by voice and/or scent, without opening the door, which people ringing my bell are benign sellers of overpriced bakery goods and which are hawking unneeded, overpriced vinyl siding.)
(Incidentally, in THIS house,there is no such thing as an "unneeded" bakery good. Why do you think they call them “GOOD” ?)
Where was I? Oh, yeah.
You wanna hear remarkable?
Experts think elephants have a specific call to alert one another that our species is nearby.
And different ADDITIONAL calls that advise, “Represents big threat”, "Could go either way," or “Relax! It's only David Attenborough. AGAIN.”