They Needed A Study To Know This? And Something About Which To Crow *Weekend Open Thread*


One political note for the weekend: Ted Cruz is widely expected to finish his sweep the Colorado delegates today, a total of 45. Colorado has a weird process, as this NY Times article highlights, but yeah – Cruz is cruising!

As you all know, I am a huge animal lover, as are many of y’all who come by here. And as you can guess, there are often studies done on animals and their relationships to humans. But like so many studies, both here and abroad, the answer seems SO obvious, it boggles the mind why money  is spent to arrive at the conclusion.

In this case, I refer to a study about horses and whether they can read the moods of people. From

Horses understand and react to human facial expressions, suggesting that they get our moods and may even empathize with us.

A new study revealing how horses read human emotions puts horses on the very short list of known animals that understand our facial expressions. Only dogs have previously been shown to have the skill.

“It’s possible that horses developed this ability during their 6,000-year co-evolution with humans, or indeed that individual horses learn it during their lifetimes,” Amy Smith, who co-led the research, told Discovery News.


Earlier research found that horses recognize people and horses that they have only seen before in photographs, so they seem to perceive photos as we do. When first presented with photos, however, some horses examine the image from various angles, as if trying to find the rest of the individual.

Um, yes – horses are smart. That they can read emotions is also why they make such good therapy animals, whether they are in relationship with those who have some disability or another, or whether they receive a visit from a therapy mini-horse.

The study does raise a point about our emotions though, and the reaction of horses to it. That would be anger:

The horses’ reaction to angry faces was pronounced, the researchers report. The horses viewed these images primarily with their left eye, due to the right brain hemisphere’s specialization for processing threatening stimuli. (Information from the left eye is processed in the right hemisphere.)


“It gives us a real insight into how they are viewing the situation and shows clearly that they see it as negative,” McComb explained. “The way in which their heart rate increases also backs this up. So being in a negative mood around horses is not something that goes unnoticed and is likely to have negative impacts on behavior and physiology.” […] (Click here to read the rest.)

The article went on to discuss the impact on a horse when a rider or trainer gets stressed. It then stresses out the horse.

Then again, it is also my experience that being around horses immediately decreases stress. No matter how much I am hurting physically, which is stressful (those of you with chronic pain know what I mean), being in their presence, breathing deeply of their smell (especially my Jordan), always, always makes me feel better.

So yeah, not so sure they really needed to do a study on horses and their humans, but I reckon it confirms what many of us already knew to be true, so there is that. People always seem to underestimate animals, don’t they?

But one animal that should not be underestimated is the American crow.  There have been some studies done of them, too, and what they reveal are just how amazing these birds are. Check out this little tidbit from Audubon Magazine:

The crows in your neighborhood know your block better than you do. They know the garbage truck routes. They know which kids drop animal crackers and which ones throw rocks. They know the pet dogs, and they might even play with the friendly ones. If you feed them, they probably not only recognize you but your car as well, and they might just leave you trinkets in return. These birds live their lives intertwined with ours, carefully observing us even as most of us barely take note of them. That’s how they survive, and they’re good at it: In recent decades the American Crow has taken over our suburbs, and even moved into the hearts of our big cities. As we’ve reshaped the landscape, we’ve created an ideal environment for an animal that is canny and perceptive enough to exploit our riches.

I thought this part was especially fascinating:

[…] Experiments in the 1990s and early 2000s demonstrated that mammals ranging from monkeys to sheep could recognize individual human faces. People had often claimed that crows could recognize them, too, but Marzluff decided to actually test it.


As they trapped and banded crows around the University of Washington’s Seattle campus, he and his collaborators wore a latex caveman mask. When they later returned to those locations, either maskless or wearing a Dick Cheney mask the crows had never seen before, the birds ignored them. But anybody showing up in a caveman mask would spark a crowpocalypse. It wasn’t just the trapped birds that responded; apparently others had witnessed the abduction and remembered it. Whole gangs of crows followed the evildoer, scolding and dive-bombing. The birds knew that caveman face, and they didn’t like it one bit.

It was an impressive demonstration, says Heinrich, Marzluff’s former post-doc adviser: “He put it on the map. The rest of us just took it for granted.”

Every so often Marzluff’s group retests the birds. It’s been 10 years, and not only have the crows not forgotten, the knowledge keeps spreading. When a crow sees other birds mobbing, it joins in, learning and remembering the identity of the villain. Each time, more birds mob and scold. Nearly all of the birds originally trapped by the caveman are likely dead by now, yet the legend of Seattle’s Great Crow Satan still grows. […]  (Click here to read the rest.)

Isn’t that just astonishing??  That the crows essentially have a BOLO (Be On The LookOut) system for people that did them wrong and more is amazing.

I know from having read a Smithsonian article years ago that the term “birdbrain” wasn’t really the insult people intended – they are quite smart and crows especially so (the article above mentions their big brains). But still, the way they communicate, the trinkets they often leave those humans who feed them, and their complex systems are really something. And they are so cute when they play:

Animals are just so incredible, aren’t they?  And one thing I know for sure is that they are a lot easier on the nerves than Politics, especially during this Campaign season. So I hope you enjoy your Weekend departure from Politics, though you know you are welcome to discuss whatever you wish.

I leave you with a little horse therapy – a video of one of my favorite breeds, the Friesian:

Stunning. Just stunning LOVE these horses! (Oh, who am I kidding – I love all horses, but you gotta admit, these are some mighty fine lookers and movers!)

Okay, folks – this is the Weekend Open Thread.


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35 Responses to “They Needed A Study To Know This? And Something About Which To Crow *Weekend Open Thread*”

  1. kenoshamarge Says:

    We have crows that have been coming to our back yard for 10 years. Sometimes there are as many as 12-15 strutting around the back yard. They, and the raucous blue jays, sit up in the huge maple tree next door and “yell” until we come out with peanuts. Others walk up to the back porch and wait. If the squirrels get too rowdy they move further back but don’t leave.
    We love watching them.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      LOL – that is so cute, Marge! I love picturing them sitting up in the branches yelling at you until you come out with the peanuts. Ahaha!!

      Blue jays have the most interesting call, don’t they? It almost sounds metallic. I am happy to have them in the yard since I understand they are declining in some areas…

  2. kenoshamarge Says:

    DESPICABLE Trump fans mock Mary Katherine Ham’s deceased husband to Make America ‘Great’ Again

    This is who they are.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      You have GOT to be kidding me, Marge. That is appalling!!!! He dies suddenly while she is pregnant, and they think this is a reason to MOCK HER?!?!?

      Wow. Just wow. Too many people have just lost the edge, and have zero sense of decency.

      I am disgusted at their behavior, and feel terrible for Ham, whom I like quite a bit, I might add.

      Good. GRIEF.

  3. kenoshamarge Says:

    Forgot to mention how much I enjoyed the video on Friesians. Like you I love all horses but these are really special.

    I sent Lou the one of the crows playing in the snow and he just loved it.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      So glad you both enjoyed the videos! That one of the crows rolling down the windshield in the snow just cracked me up. Adorable!

      And yeah, there is something very, very special abt Friesians. Their bearing is so regal, which is ironic since their beginning was as a dairy farm animal. That said, they became integral members of the family. I also read that they had been used in battle – that I can see, too. They are still revered in their originating homeland.

      If you are interested, you can check out this (relatively) short documentary:

  4. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    Indeed, this Tweet from Eric Trump does sum up the kind of campaign Trump is running:

  5. kenoshamarge Says:

    And FYI:

  6. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    Btw, my Representative, Mark Sanford, had this link in his weekly email so people can see what their taxes will be under each candidate. It is startling, and just takes a second:

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Hey, that’s a handy little gadget. I’ve always been in favor of Ted Cruz and the flat tax.

      Over at NQ I see the Buzz-ard is misrepresenting lying about that. She’s claiming Cruz wants the VAT – not true. I’ve listening to him several times on the subject and he definitely is for the flat tax. So am I so that’s one more area of agreement for me.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        These people LOVE to misrepresent Cruz, don’t they? Seems to be their favorite game, one played often by their leader.

        I thought it was a handy gadget, too. Vox isn’t exactly conservative, so for it to show just how badly Sanders will hurt people, including middle class Americans, is something. Not that his young supporters will care since THEY won’t be paying it – their parents will…

  7. kenoshamarge Says:

  8. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    I thought of you when I was outside this morning feeding the birds, critters, and feral cats (who has been spayed/neutured, vaccinated and released, thanks to my next door neighbor), and the blue jayy/crows were squawking away for me to hurry up already! 🙂

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Jays and crows were relatively quiet here this morning as it is windy, snowing, raining, complete with thunder, sleet, a little hail, back to snow and now it’s raining. I think they are all sitting up in their nests going WTH? Just like me.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        Good GRIEF – I bet they are THOROUGHLY confused by all of this weather, like you! And it is cold and windy here – in the 40’s – BRRRRRRR!

        The cartoon is spot on!

        • foxyladi14 Says:

          That’s pretty chilly for you Amy.Overcoat time. 😦

          • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

            You ain’t only kidding, Foxy – I DID have my overcoat on when I went outside. It’s SO cold!! I mean, relatively speaking and all!

  9. kenoshamarge Says:

    Once again FOX give Trump free air time. This time it is one of his most rabid supporters, Judge Jeanine Pirro. I cannot believe I was ever a fan of this liberal in sheep’s clothing. Fortunately for my self-respect I had lost all respect for her and her weekly diatribe before she became a rabid Trumpanzee. I saw her a nothing but Keith Olbermann in a dress.

    Now that she’s gone completely over to the dark side I find out that my “spidey” senses were right about her. She is “conservative” only by NY and east coast standards which is not very “conservative” at all. In fact even by east coast standards a woman who supports abortion is not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination.

    During an appearance at the Crime Victims Resource Center, Pirro described herself this way:

    “I am red on fiscal policy. I am conservative and I support the Bush tax cut.” She added, however: “I have broad blue stripes when it comes to social issues…. I am a woman who is a moderate in New York.”

    Pirro is a supporter of gun control, including the Brady Bill.

    She is also a supporter of affirmative action and staunchly in favor of abortion, including being supportive of U.S. taxpayer funding of abortion through Medicaid.

    Republican governor George Pataki’s endorsement of Pirro caused Cox to withdraw from the race, leaving Pirro as the likely nominee. Donors to Pirro’s political campaign included designer Tommy Hilfiger (also a native of Elmira) and Donald Trump, as well as contractors and real estate executives who had done business with her husband

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I am so sick of the media propping him up. And did the good Judge acknowledge just how much money Trump has given her?? Yeah, I am thinking not…

      It is such a shame to see people whom we used to respect lose all credibility with their support of Trump. They can’t even verbalize why most of the time because there is no rational reason to support him over not just Cruz, but the other very good candidates who were running this year. They are just bandwagoners, and I have no use for people like that…

  10. kenoshamarge Says:

  11. kenoshamarge Says:

    Trump Kids Can’t Vote for Dad

    Donald Trump’s three oldest children have campaigned with their father and served as surrogates during the presidential race. But only one of them is actually a member of the party Trump hopes to lead.

    Records from the New York State Board of Elections show that neither Ivanka Trump nor Eric Trump is enrolled in a political party. Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is a Republican.

    This means that both Ivanka and Eric cannot vote for their father in New York’s closed Republican primary on April 19, 2016. They missed the deadline to register to do so. Only Republicans can vote in the New York primary.

  12. foxyladi14 Says:

    Speaking of Horses Amy,
    How is your handsome guy Jordon doing? 🙂

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Thanks so much for asking, Foxy! I got to see my handsome boy just yesterday, along with all the other horses. It is amazing how well Jordan is doing for his age (36) and that he has EPM (though its impact is much less than it could be thanks to the quick actions of our friend who oversees his care. As a result of her observations, it was caught very early on.). Anyway, he is doing great.

      I tried something different with the horses yesterday. I learned that the great race horse, Zenyatta, who is expecting any second now, LOVES bananas. One of the horses at the barn, Rambo, has lost some of his back teeth, so we have to be careful abt the kind of snacks he get (I get him applesauce, and he also loves mints). I thought the bananas would be a great alternative. NONE of the horses liked them. Oh well! Lesson learned! Ahaha…

  13. foxyladi14 Says:

    Have a blessed happy Sunday dear friends.
    Sending prayers and healing thoughts to Amy and Marge,
    Also anyone else that needs them. ❤

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      And the same to you, Foxy. Thank you so much for the prayers – much appreciated! Prayers for you as well!

  14. foxyladi14 Says:

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