At Mind Matters News, he notes a recent claim about number sense in parrots:
Dr. Pepperberg could have been more forthright: Parrots can’t do statistics. No animal (except man) can do statistics, because statistical reasoning is abstract and only human beings are capable of abstract thought. Parrots think concretely—they think of particular things and relations between particular things, but they cannot think without particular things—they can’t think abstractly.
My little dog Pippa loves treats, proffered as a reward for good behavior. She spends much of her time angling for treats—showing me how good she is. She jumps in excitement when I reward her. I usually give her two treats (“you’ve been twice as good as usual today!”), which delights her. Occasionally, I give her one treat (she’s a bit chubby) and her disappointment is obvious. She eats it, then looks at me as if to ask “where’s the other one?”
Pippa’s charming behavior does not demonstrate that she does mathematics. She does not think of “one” or “two” as numbers and she most certainly does not think of nutrition…Michael Egnor, “Polly Want a … Statistician?” at Mind Matters News
Further reading on intelligence in birds:
Crows can be as smart as apes. But they have quite different brains. The intelligence doesn’t seem to reside in the details of the mechanism.
Can genes predict which birds can learn to talk? A recent study disappointed researchers, who really hoped to learn why humans use language.