Learning Curve

Yesterday I had to stop while a small flock of turkeys took their time crossing the road. Then today it was a fairly large gaggle of geese that slowed me up; I’ll admit I gave my horn a couple of quick toots to hurry them along.

It made me think about the animal crossing system that they have in Canada along Banff National Park. All along the Trans Canada Highway through the park, they built overpasses and underpasses for the animals to use.  According to Parks Canada, they have documented hundreds of thousands of animal crossings and saved thousands of animals from becoming roadkill.

Apparently coyotes, cougars and black bears figured out the crossings the fastest. Grizzly bears and wolves took the longest.  But no one answers my question.  Did they just open them up and wait for the animals to give them a try or did they try to “train” wildlife, perhaps using bait? Maybe it was it just a “build it and they will come” kind of thing?

It occurs to me that I’ve had animals in my life that would learn something like this quickly, like the black bears and I’ve also had animals that would be trailing behind the grizzlies.

Have you had a particularly smart (or not) animal in your life?

27 thoughts on “Learning Curve”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    We had a squirrel here who was smart and courageous and really, really dumb. It used to go nose to nose with our rat terrier, Coco on the deck behind our house. This squirrel crafted nests in snug places such as inside a large concrete block. I think I have told about the squirrel’s demise before—it climbed down the chimney, chewed on the cord to the fireplace fan until it completed the electrical circuit, and it was over.

    I will be in Iowa for Tgiving. Happy day to all Baboons.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. my critters are all really smart
    my dogs are trained to go on their walk and get their treat every night between 8 and 9

    they may get an additional walk but they will absolutely get their evening constitutional

    my cats are a riot they’ve become so programmed that they are like alarm clocks

    they can be depended on to wake at 6 on weekdays and 8 on weekends

    their masters are not as consistent as they would like

    i love that canada takes care of the critters
    i like canadians and band jasper in particular
    i suspect my current dog is part coyote and my last dog was part wolf

    the coyote is really quick to learn
    the wolf needed it to be explained to him but he was very smart when he decided to care

    my fish are just average
    dumb ones don’t last long

    Liked by 4 people

  3. We saw a moose on the Canadian side of the border in the Turtle Mountain area of North Dakota. It was waiting patiently to cross the road, standing by a Moose crossing sign. Those law abiding Canadians!

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Thanks PJ for putting this up. I’ve heard this before and I listen to it all the way through because I just can’t believe that this isn’t a put on. But if she were really just joking around at some point she’d have to laugh, wouldn’t she?

        Liked by 2 people

    1. One of my favorite stories about the guy in Texas who was telling a joke about okies from Oklahoma
      A member of the audience stood up and said hey wait a minute I’m from Oklahoma

      The guy tellington the jokes said “ oh I’m sorry I’ll tell it again and I’ll talk slower

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I can’t remember anyone outstanding, but Sox was close enough – Baby Joel kind of skipped the crawling stage, never really got going with a rhythm, but at 9 months he stood up and started walking. Sox took one look at that, and I saw it in his eyes – “O sh**, it’s completely mobile.”


  5. Here in Rochester it’s the guess walking across the roads downtown that slows traffic. People need to learn that if you stop 20′ back and wait for them they will take forever. But if you just slowly drive towards them, they’ll hurry and get out of the way. You can tell the tourists from the locals that way.

    Smart animals; most are! I’ve seen cows figure out how to open gates or get water. They learned where their spot in the barn was. (Some took longer to figure it out than others, but they all learned.)
    Our dog Humphrey; He knows when I need to wipe his feet before he can come in the house and he stops and lifts a paw. I’m trying to teach him to do his left first; he often offers his right first.

    I saw cats that knew which cows were calm enough to allow the cat to jump from the pipeline down onto the cows back and sleep there.
    Some cats would snuggle against the cows when they were laying down and most were smart enough to move before the cow rolled over.

    The chickens are pretty smart at figuring out food and water.
    My ducks always lay outside in the light from our garage. Last night I turned on the heat lamps in the coop for the water buckets I put in there. Last night the ducks spent the night in the coop. Huh. Pretty smart of them. Problem for me because they spill all the water, make a mess, and make the straw bedding wet so now I have to clean that out. Darn ducks. I guess I’ll be shutting the coop door tonight.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I think they are all smart in their own way…but usually in ways I wish they weren’t….like Houdini Horse escaping her pasture and Madam Hildegard finding chickens to kill…just two that come to mind of my many critters.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Our daughter’s cat in Tacoma has learned that if she sticks her paw under daughter’s closed bedroom door in just the right place, usually at at 3:00 am, she can make a delightful sproingy noise by strumming the door stopper attaced to the door. It drives daughter nuts but she refuses to let kitty in no matter how loudly she sproings.


    1. Wow. My daughter’s cat, Cleo, used a similar trick to wake up my daughter in the morning. Cleo would reach under the door, snag the stopper, pull it back and then let it go. The noise resulting was not “delightful,” especially to a woman trying to sleep.


    2. My sister and her husband had a cat that used to wake them up very early by yowling insistently outside the bedroom door. The solution they settled on was to leave an unplugged vacuum cleaner just outside the door, with an extension cord running into the bedroom. The vacuum cleaner’s switch was on. At the first yowl of the morning, one of them would roll over and plug the vacuum cleaner in. It worked.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A crafty little dog owned by a woman I used to work for would fake a broken leg and limp around to avoid punishment. It took a few trips to the vet for said “broken leg” before the owners caught on. What a hoot!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. When I first met Hans, 39 years ago, I had a calico cat named Monschka. She was not only a very pretty cat, but she had such a great personality and was smart and very independent.

    I had a small orange, fluffy refrigerator magnet in the shape of an owl on the front door of the fridge. I couldn’t understand why I would constantly find that magnet on the floor. It didn’t matter where on the fridge I placed that magnet, within an hour or two I’d find it on the floor. I figured out it had to be Monschka that was knocking it down, so I tried placing it in such a place that she couldn’t possibly reach it from a kitchen counter or the top of the fridge, but I’d still find it on the floor. So, I decided to keep a close watch on her. She’d leap first to the top of the kitchen counter, and from there to the top of the fridge. Then she’d look for the magnet, and when she had located it would launch herself from the top of the fridge knocking the magnet off the door with her paw as she dropped past it on her way to the floor. Once on the floor, she had no interest in that magnet at all.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. How I wish that I knew how to post pictures here. The night before Trouble died in a routine neuter surgery, I posted a photo on FB showing my outstretched legs with a dinner plate on my lap, a water spray bottle, and little Trouble’s face just waiting to pounce. I so miss this little rascal.

    Thank you Sherrilee for your sympathy card. Most people don’t do such kind things anyone and it warmed my heart.


  11. My four-footed brother. An English Springer Spaniel. Smarter than most people I know. He lasted 17 years on bad-for-him-snacks, too little exercise, and a lot of love. I still miss him.

    My sister had a dog that was too smart and too energetic for her to handle. A Gordon Setter. That dog figured out how fishing rods/reels work and discovered that if she grabbed a soda can gingerly with her teeth and carefully tipped it over, the delicious soda would come out so she could lap it up.

    Liked by 3 people

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