Crows, Jays, Ravens - The Corvidae Family - Some Clever Birds
The Corvidae Family contains some of the most familiar and well-known birds – Crows, Ravens, Jays, Magpies, Nutcrackers and Rooks. These birds have become legends in many of the world’s mythologies. They have a reputation for intelligence and have been observed using tools. They may be aggressive and may even seem to be playful. Many corvids are famously omnivorous eating from many sources. Being so smart and omnivorous allows them to expand their geographical range, perhaps more than any other bird, although they still face their limits in harsh environments and with competition from other birds and animals. In the Pacific Northwest, the Stellar's Jays sometimes steal nuts out of the paws of squirrels. A crow might attack a dog or cat just for fun, swooping down to give them a peck on the head. They are a very interesting group of birds to watch.
Here is a very interesting story with video about the intelligence of Rooks and the ancient fable of Aesop - Clever Rooks. Other recent studies are revealing how the other related birds in the Corvidae Family do have "thinking" abilities.
As the name suggests, the nutcracker likes to eat nuts best. They like pine nuts or seeds but also will eat insects, other birds eggs and carrion.
The European Magpie is the only animal, that is not a mammal, that has been able to recognize itself in a mirror. They are also known to be no-nonsense scavengers and will eat whatever they have discovered is edible. They will sometimes attack the nests of other birds and eat the nestlings. There are about 9 fairly different species of magpie with different coloring.