-Dr. Ray Peat in Intuitive Knowledge and Its DevelopmentSpiders that build architecturally beautiful webs have been favorite subjects for theorizing about the instinctive mechanisms of behavior. When spiders were sent up on an orbiting satellite, they were in a situation that spiders had never experienced before. Spiders have always taken advantage of gravity for building their webs, and at first, the orbiting spiders made strange little muddled arrangements of filaments, but after just a few attempts, they were able to build exactly the same sort of elegant structures that spiders normally build. (My interpretation of that was that spiders may be more intelligent than most neurobiologists.)
Nesting birds often swoop at people or animals who get too close to their nest. Early last summer, I had noticed some blue jays that seemed to be acting defensive whenever I went into one part of the yard. On a very hot day at the end of summer, a couple of plump jays were squawking and apparently trying to get my attention while I was watering the front yard, and I idly wondered why they would be acting that way so late in the year. I had gone around the house to water things in the back yard, and the birds came over the house, and were still squawking, and trying to get my attention. I realized that their excitement didn't have anything to do with their nest, and looking more carefully, I saw that they were young birds. As it dawned on me that they were interested in the water squirting out of the hose, I aimed the stream up towards them, and they got as close to it as they could. Since the force of the stream might have hurt them, I put on a nozzle that made a finer spray, and the birds immediately came down to the lowest tip of the branch, where they could get the full force of the mist, holding out their wings, and leaning into the spray so that it ruffled their breast feathers. Their persistence had finally paid off when they got me to understand what they wanted, and they were enjoying the cool water. As new young birds, I don't know how they understood hoses and squirting water, but it was clear that they recognized me as a potentially intelligent being with whom they could communicate.