Well, it is awfully tempting to dive into some imagined chukar humor and wonder what kind of diatribe they might use to poke fun at us hunter’s with. As if they communicate like us humans do, which they don’t, but we like to anthropomorphize about, that is. Such are some of my thoughts as I hunt along various terrains with not only my dogs, but my brain as well. My mind contours the landscape with similar speed as my legs do. Sometimes I even get lost in this parallel world and forget that I am even hunting to begin with. At least until something triggers me back into reality, like tripping on a loose rock, dog on point, or sudden burst of wings taking to the sky.
Also, in my self-talk, I sometimes try to think like a chukar in order to find them. But how can I do that, I’m a human, so I can only use human ideas. It is difficult even trying to understand women sometimes, how would I ever begin to understand a chukar? Telepathy is out. So is any chance at really communicating with any kind of animals, when us humans can barely communicate with each other. Our astronomers think about what messages aliens might be sending out through space, yet learning what our own earth creatures have to tell us might be much more valuable.
But, Earth to Gary, back to birds. If chukars think, they must not think in words, but what kind of language to they use, if any? I always wonder how their brains work. For example: when serious snow hits the high country in an over night storm, but leaves the ground bare on the lower foothill sections, use patterns of chukars can change and adapt to the new situation.
So, from a chukars view-point, I wonder if they can see their landscape and differentiate which areas to change to for food and shelter. Can they see bare ground amidst the snow, like wind-blown open ridges and draws, and make an effort to seek it out. That is, as opposed to just stumbling upon it, or never finding it to begin with. For another example, if a major mountain side contains some snow free zones that can be seen from a far off distance, can chukars see this and fly over to it? Do they think, hey there is a good place to find food and shelter? Or is that more like an instinct, or some kind of built in survival detector they just know to do?
I think about the same sorts of things about big game when I am hunting them. In what kind of ways to they use thought, if at all, about how they negotiate their terrain and survive the elements, including predation? The natural law of conservation of energy affects the survival abilities of all critters, but they don’t think about it, any more than us humans think about how gravity affects our movements all the time.
Thinking about predation could jeopardize survival, as opposed to acting without thinking about it first. So immediate dangers that require fast reaction times are better left to the innate “fight or flight” responses for better success potential.
What about other abstract things, like a bird learning about what happens when they fly off a high mountain to go all the way to the very bottom. Do they know how much more work will be required to climb back up to the top again? Could this be any part of reasoning when a bird flies around the mountain so as not to lose too much in elevation, rather than sailing all the way to the bottom? Knowing it will be less energy draining and arduous, than leaving it up to chance alone.
What about late in the season when birds get up quicker and farther away from you when they see you coming, than they did earlier in the season? It would seem they have learned that distance is important for survival. It is almost is if they know the range of a shotgun. Or that humans require different strategies than other predators. They hunker down when golden eagles soar overhead, hold tight when dogs are on point, and jump into the air as soon as the two-legged hunters show up. How do they know? How abstract, if any at all, is some of their thought?
As you can see, I may have been out on the chukar slopes a little too long. My thoughts, like my dog sometimes does when in hot pursuit, seems to be getting a little too close to the edge. Those darned chukars. They can make some of us humans go crazy. It’s probably just another chukar survival strategy.