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July 16, 2003

Tool-making crows
Posted by Teresa at 01:00 AM *

Not a new story, but it’s haunted me since it came out last year in Science Magazine online:

In the Brevia section of the 9 August 2002 issue of Science, Weir et al. report a remarkable observation: The toolmaking behavior of New Caledonian crows. In the experiments, a captive female crow, confronted with a task that required a curved tool (retrieving a food-containing bucket from a vertical pipe), spontaneously bent a piece of straight wire into a hooked shape—and then repeated the behavior in nine out of ten subsequent trials. Though these crows are known to employ tools in the wild using natural materials, this bird had no prior training with the use of pliant materials such as wire—a fact that makes its apparently spontaneous, highly specific problem-solving all the more interesting, and raises intriguing questions about the evolutionary preconditions for complex cognition. The crow’s behavior was captured on an unusual video clip. …
The first time I saw the movie, it gave me goosebumps. The food’s in a little metal bucket with a handle, down at the bottom of a glass tube. The crow has only the piece of wire to work with.

At first it stabs and prods at the food with the unbent wire. Then, when it decides that that approach isn’t going to work, it bends the wire—briskly, expertly, without fumbling or hesitation or false starts—to just the right length and angle needed to fish the bucket out of the tube. It then proceeds to fish up the bucket—again, without fumbling or hesitation. That bird knows exactly what it’s doing. I know a lot of humans who wouldn’t have done any better.

So the movie’s cool. But of all animals, why a New Caledonian crow? That thing has a brain the size of a fava bean.

Comments on Tool-making crows:
#1 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 04:09 AM:

I suspect that having a feeling for the characteristics of materials is a very important sort of intelligence, and IQ tests don't come anywhere near addressing it.

#2 ::: Paul Riddell ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 04:57 AM:

Truth be told, not anywhere near as much research has been done on avian intelligence as should be done. I remember reading an article several years back about the possibility of African grey parrots being intelligent to the point of sentience (that is, they actually understood human speech and responded instead of merely imitating it), but I'm honestly not surprised at tool-using abilities among any of the crows.

(One of the things that comes out with plenty of research into the possibility of sentient dinosaurs is that, if dinosaurs had the same general brain structure as birds, the thinking isn't done with the cerebrum as in mammals. Birds do their thinking with a structure known as the corpus callosum: it fills the same duty, but the development has the interesting side effect of producing only second-long dream periods during sleep. Since REM sleep is generally recognized today as the brain's way of categorizing and overwriting short and long-term memory, this suggests that studying bird memory might be a key to understanding tool use: are these birds picking up tool use on their own, or are they remembering seeing other birds or humans do the same thing?

(By the way, working backwards, if dinosaur brains functioned roughly the same as birds, Robert Sawyer's dinosaur dreams in his Quintaglio book Foreigner would be impossible. If dinosaurs had brains comparable to crocodiles, then they would have no REM sleep at all, while if like birds, they would only have second-long flashes. Either way, the shame is that a sentient dinosaur probably wouldn't have nightmares.)

#3 ::: des ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 06:35 AM:

But of all animals, why a New Caledonian crow? That thing has a brain the size of a fava bean.

But it's what you do with it that counts, innit?

#4 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 07:32 AM:

Paul, I'm confused. You said that birds don't do their thinking with the cerebrum butr instead with `a structure known as the corpus callosum'.

If this is the same corpus callosum as in humans (and I can't see why a totally different structure would be given the same name), then it is *part* of the cerebrum, and a critical part (without it, the halves of the brain can't communicate directly, and odd things happen).

#5 ::: Elric ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 08:21 AM:

So the brain is the size of a fava bean. How much better would certain national "leaders" do, with brains the size of a heap of pickled fava beans?

#6 ::: Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 08:44 AM:

The Grey Parrot research was most likely Irene Pepperberg's work with a parrot called Alex. She's currently at Brandeis, but it seems, near as I can tell from google, that most of the research info on the web is at, which seems to be off-line as I post. FWIW, Alex's behavior is at least comparable to what chimps manage in similar studies (he can manage concepts as abstract as "same" and "different" quite reliably).

On two other points: first, as to "why a crow?" -- corvids (crows and ravens) are known for their tool using and imitative abilities; crows kept as pets do learn to imitate human voices. Secondly, regarding brain anatomy, birds don't have much of a cerebral cortex, but other forebrain components are significantly enlarged, compared to similar mammals. It's possible that, as with avian lungs, the birds have evolved a much lighter-weight arrangement which works at least as well...

#7 ::: Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 09:04 AM:

(Oh, one more thing. The corpus callosum is a fiber tract; thinking with the corpus callosum is a little bit like computing with ethernet cables. Paul may be thinking of bird forebrain structures like the wulst which don't seem to be directly homologous to much of anything in mammals; see here for a very brief overview).

#8 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 09:06 AM:

I had the African Gray Parrot conjecture in mind when I wrote this; also a long funny story about talking crows, which I heard from a friend of Avram Grumer's. Also, I must admit, a couple of decades' amazement at how basic the stuff is that we're only just now finding out about how brains work.

#9 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 09:35 AM:

If you think this is something, you should see my cat calculate the force and angle necesary to send a vase to the floor so that it cracks perfectly into five large peices that are missing just enuogh common seams to be put back together. I think I cought her once scratching out the math in her kitty litter with her paw. She gave me an evil look and then wiped it away...

#10 ::: Larry Lurex ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 09:59 AM:

Crows have long been considered the brainboxes of the bird world. Also, it is really the size of the brain in comparison with the body which counts - bigger muscles need bigger brains.

It doesn't really surprise me that crows are good at problem solving - we know for a fact that they can count to at least four. I just wonder how many other animals are out there that we feel familiarity with, yet still have the power to surprise us?

#11 ::: Jeff Crook ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 10:43 AM:

Oh, you left out the best part - wherein the male crow then stole the food from the hardworking female crow.

We are each brilliant in our own way.

#12 ::: Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 12:09 PM:

Ever read Seal Morning by Rowena Ferre? Undocumented but quite spooky account of the comparitive intelligence of rats and squirrels, not to mention the musical ability of a certain seal.

Konrad Lorenz (in King Solomon's Ring) also mentions a parrot who was only let out of the cage after it had let fall a dropping, to save its owner's soft furnishings. Whenever its owner came near the cage, the parrot was seen desperately straining to pass a dropping....

#13 ::: Brian Ledford ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 01:09 PM:

Bernd Heinrich's books (mind of the raven, etc.) have some other interesting examples. He set up a series of food bags hung from a line longer than a raven stride (the birds had to pull more than once to get it). The ravens figured out that they had to pull with their beaks step on the line and regrab. He upped the challenge by putting food in only some of the bags (rocks in the others). They were able to figure out which one had the food by visual inspection and pull only those lines. He tangled the lines - the closed line did not pull the closet bag - and they figured out which lines to pull to retrieve the food.

Jeff: I think the male crow ran off with the bent wire, not the food. I think the experiment was initially to test whether they could distinquish between the bent and straight pieces. The wire bending must have been quite the surprise.

#14 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 02:51 PM:

So the brain is the size of a fava bean. How much better would certain national "leaders" do, with brains the size of a heap of pickled fava beans?

I'm not sure why, but I have a sudden urge to pick up a nice Chianti...fpfpfpfpfp!

#15 ::: Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 03:51 PM:

I had a roommate with an African Grey named Gromit. When one of us would leave, he would flawlessly mimic the sound of our phone and then laugh at us when we came back in and answered it. He also took pleasure in confusing us by when we used the microwave by sounding the finished beep too early. And I don't know what he did to the cats when we were away, but they wouldn't go near him.

A lot of people say we don't give enough credit to the animals. I think the reverse is true, we give ourselves too much credit.

#16 ::: Paul Riddell ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 03:59 PM:

Nix, I know the corpus callosum is a part of the cerebrum in mammals, but it's overgrown in birds. It's comparable to the gluteus maximus: in humans, it's the muscle that helps more than anything else to allow us to stand upright, but in chimpanzees it's a relatively minor posterior muscle.

In any case, and I'm going to have to go back to the textbooks to check on new developments, I understood that the bird brain's corpus callosum has expanded to take on new duties other than simply connecting right brain to left brain. Let me get back on this one: I think I'll be well on my way to a Ph.D in ornithology before the debate is settled to my satisfaction and I can say "Okay, here's the straight dope..."

#17 ::: Marc Brazeau ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 04:27 PM:

Great post. I couldn't help but steal it. But I give you full credit. of course.

#18 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 05:24 PM:

I know the corpus callosum is a part of the cerebrum...It's comparable to the gluteus maximus...

Does this mean my brain's in my ass?

#19 ::: Cassandra ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 05:53 PM:

I used to work at a vet hospital, and heard this story from someone who'd been there firsthand:

"Years ago I was working at another vetrinarian's, and one day a woman brought her parrot in to be treated. The parrot had to stay some days, and when we brought it back from the waiting room into the kennel area, it started shreiking, 'No, no, don't leave me! Don't leave me!' over and over."

I believe it.

#20 ::: Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 07:24 PM:

Sigh... I'm feeling punchy today, so here's a bit of neuroanatomy 101:

The mammalian cerebral cortex consists of a thin layer of nerve cells, or neurons[*] on the outside of the cerebral hemispheres. Some of these neurons send long projections to other neural structures, including other cortical areas, and subcortical areas. This makes these individual cells quite large -- for instance, in humans, there are cells in primary motor cortex whose axons (signalling projections) extend a few feet down the spinal cord to synapse directly on motor neurons located there.

In particular, some of these cortical neurons send axons to the other side of the cerebral cortex. Those axons -- signalling outgrowths of cells from the cerebral cortex -- are gathered together in a large collection of axons[**] which is called the corpus callosum. So, the corpus callosum is an outgrowth of the cerebral cortex, not a logically separate structure. If you don't have a large cerebral cortex, you can't have a corpus callosum; there's no place for the axons making it up to originate from.

Birds have little or no cerebral cortex.

[*]... an oversimplification already: there are stacked layers of cells within the cortex itself; neurons sending axons through the callosum are generally found in layer 3.

[**]... and support cells called glia.

#21 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2003, 10:15 PM:

Brian: Yes, the original observation was preceeded by the male bird stealing the hooked wire, but (according to the associated paper) they then did several more trials with only straight wires to see if it was repeatable, and on 3 out of about a dozen successful food retrievals, the male bird stole the food.

#22 ::: Jane Yolen ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 05:15 AM:

Jean Craighead George has a wonderful autobiography in which she talks about crows she has known and owned. They sound infinitely more intelligent than a labrador retriever I once had.


#23 ::: Ter ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 08:03 AM:

Last night I was at the Houston Zoo, where the staff from Natural Encounters, Inc. demonstrated how they put together their show "World of Birds".

The birds were in charge of certain portions of the evening, and the humans had to respond to options within the range of the birds' talents and interests. I expected the parrots to be brilliant, though the comedy routine (speech and mime) between the human host and the parrot also had Smothers Brothers' like deadpan pauses. The parrot's subtle nuances between "Beats me", or "You're so wrong", and "No way, never" were possibly in my imagination.

The raven was impressive. They confirmed that parrots and corvids are the smartest of birds, and interact in detail with humans. The raven ran the cash donation portion of the evening, hopping on the floor to take folded dollar bills from kids, spotting people waving money behind other people, and timing his own break to scrounge a dropped snack. I know this is trained behavior, but he was on his own determining how to work with a crowd of sixty people.

#24 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 08:10 AM:

Crows do a pretty amazing job of figuring out how to open closed suburban trash cans. You'd think a racoon had opened them and gone through them, but mostly it's the crows. They know how to knock them over in such a way that the lid falls off. (I think this involves knowing to hop on the can at the edge on a spot between the two locking latches.)

#25 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 09:04 AM:

The -- one of the -- cool things about corvids is that they're passerines, your prototypical small seed eating bird, only some of them -- crows and ravens -- turned back into scavengers and opportunistic predators very recently in evolutionary time, eating vertebrate flesh again.

There's a (lamentably bogus) image of the carrion crows following the Indo-Europeans out of the steppes of Asia, glutting on battlefields and growing wise on the eyes of men.

#26 ::: Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 11:58 AM:

Ter said: The parrot's subtle nuances between "Beats me", or "You're so wrong", and "No way, never" were possibly in my imagination.

You may well have heard what you heard.

Steven has a parrot. When he wants to be picked up, he says what the humans say to him when they want to pick him up: "Step up." Steven said that one day Doc wanted to be picked up, and so he said, "Step up." Steve ignored him. Doc said, "Step up," again, in a slightly annoyed tone of voice. Steven claims that Doc repeated himself three or four times, with increased annoyance in his tone. I'm fascinated. That's not just mimicry, though I couldn't prove it scientifically.

The best description of living with a parrot I've heard so far is, "Imagine living with a three-year old. With pliers."

#27 ::: Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 04:39 PM:

Speaking of parrots,, the home site of Irene Pepperberg's research on parrots, seems to be back on line.

#28 ::: Damien Neil ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 05:01 PM:

I had a coworker with an African Grey that was also trained to respond to "step up". I attempted to pick him up once without saying the magic words--as he stepped onto my hand, he croaked "step up" disapprovingly. (He also says "step up" when he wants to be picked up.)

The description of parrots that I've heard is, "a six-year-old with the vocabulary of a two year old...and a pair of pliers".

The most amusing parrot-related phrase I know is one that will be familiar to anyone who has spent time around one: "The bird is ringing."

#29 ::: Emily Breed ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 05:28 PM:

My favorite characterization of living with a parrot takes it one step further: "like living with a six-year-old with the vocabulary of a two year old...and a pair of pliers... for 45 years."

(First-time commenter, some-time reader. Hi, all.)

#30 ::: Stephanie Zvan ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 08:43 PM:

Graydon, don't be too disappointed. The carrion crows may not have been entirely bogus. There is a fair amount of documentation of animals that we think of as herbivores (like deer) eating meat if it's available, particularly [gross alert] if it's well rotted--read, predigested and nutritionally accessible.

In the case of crows, what might actually matter more than intelligence is a relative lack of instinctual behavior. Corvids are the only birds I know of with an adolescence. Juvenile birds stay with their parents for a number of years before leaving to form their own family groups, suggesting that they may have more to learn than do other birds. Sound familiar?

Contrast that with Jane's labrador, or better yet, a Sheltie or another shepherd breed. It comes with a wonderful array of completely instinctual behavior. It does cool, complex things without training, even if it's been removed from its family very early. But confront it with a novel situation, say, an angry cat, and what does it do? It tries to herd it. And you and the cat will be very hard pressed to teach it not to.

I haven't followed the research in a few years, but I think we'll eventually find, if we haven't already, that the answer to that type of intelligence lies in having loose enough wiring to interact almost randomly with the world.

#31 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 09:19 PM:

Heya, Emily B. Welcome to the circus.

Stephanie, I like that theory.

#32 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2003, 10:10 PM:

Stephanie -

Carrion crows as such aren't bogus at all; crows love roadkill, at least the crows around here. And they're certainly opportunistically predatory, too, so far as insects, eggs, baby birds, and, well, anything small enough to swallow goes.

It's the idea of them literally following the IE expansion, battlefield by battlefield, until they were spread widely over the Old World, and getting smarter year by year on a diet of the eyes and brains of men that's the lovely and utterly bogus image.

I agree about the loseness of the wiring, but it tends to need a lot of social processing hardware to get lose from, if that follows. (at least, corvids, psitticines, and hominids are all very social creatures that do complex intraspecific signalling.)

#33 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 12:13 AM:

One of the mysteriex of Bird intelligence is that they apparently use their optical lobe for a lot of stuff mammals do not (mammals use the 'more modern' parts of their brains). Therefore scientists are unwilling to attribute most of the remarkable stuff birds do to actuall intelligence even though they demonstrate intelligent behavior. That a crow, the smartest and most adaptable of birds would figure out such a problem is not a mystery to me. They know how to use their environment in ways that are a mystery to us. They are a great success even in difficult environments.

#34 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 12:36 AM:

A few days ago, I watched for part of the proceedings as a pair of blue and gold macaws unlatched the door to their cage and got out of it. There were two latches, which were of a variety that involve a rotate-and-fold-down piece,attached to another part of locking-down latching mechanism. So, first whichever bird was attacking a latch, had to get the fold-over metal piece unfold, and then turn it, so that the other part of the locking mechanism could then be released, which other part claspsed across the bars as a sort of buckle [I don't have or can't think of the correct terms, at the moment].

They had to do this for -two- locking latches, but they got both of them open and detached to get the door open, nonetheless.

#35 ::: Stefanie Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 11:16 AM:

Considering that crows give me the wiggins anyway, this thread has not been terribly comforting. Maybe Hitchcock was on to something. :)

In case y'all haven't read it, this Ian Frazier piece, "Tomorrow's Bird," is hilarious:

I will now slink away and try to forget I ever saw that film clip. Brrr!

#36 ::: K Harris ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 11:25 AM:

I read once that toucans are among those animals once thought to be vegetarians that have turned out to be omnivors. The story was that a zoo in Texas began to have unaccountable luck in breeding toucans - nobody else was able to do it at all and the Texas zoo didn't know why thier birds were so fertile. One day, a bird keeper was shocked to see a toucan, female, swoop down on a mouse. Once the attack was reported, other bird keepers at the zoon began to notice similar attacks. Turns out what was special about that zoo was a mouse infestation. Hamburger reportedly works just as well. My toucan Frank (I miss him/her so) never had much access to meat, but never had much access to sex, so it probably didn't matter.

I don't know, by the way, whether subsequent research has confirmed the mosquito-like behavior of toucans.

#37 ::: Lisa Padol ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2003, 05:04 PM:

Avram Grumer told me once that crows have been observed using another kind of tool: cars. Well, cars and nuts, to be precise.

The crows dropped the nuts in the middle of the road. Cars would run over them, opening up the shells. So far, so good.

But the crows did not try to eat the nuts. They waited for the squirrels. The squirrels tried to eat the nuts. Several of the squirrels got hit by cars. The crows then ate the roadkill squirrels.

As Avram pointed out, this is serious long term thinking for the crows.

#38 ::: Shweta ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2003, 05:24 AM:


I'm a first-time poster. And a new addict :)
And just too much the cognitive science geek not to babble on this thread.

I haven't followed the research in a few years, but I think we'll eventually find, if we haven't already, that the answer to that type of intelligence lies in having loose enough wiring to interact almost randomly with the world.

Stefanie, I've read a pretty recent paper that was making about the same claim -- that an extended period of adolescence might be a prerequisite for intelligence, because that gives the animal time to learn to adjust to its particular environment.
Though in that case the argument was not for randomness, but flexibility. I could probably find the paper if anyone was interested; it's, uh, somewhere in the huge pile of unsorted academic papers that I was going to get organized in May...

One of the mysteriex of Bird intelligence is that they apparently use their optical lobe for a lot of stuff mammals do not (mammals use the 'more modern' parts of their brains).

Paula (Murray), by optical lobe do you mean the visual cortex? Because there's some work that suggests that we use our primary visual and motor areas, generally considered "lower" areas, to do some of what's normally classified as "higher" cognition. It suggests that the traditional view of what mammals do where might not be quite right. (Here I do know my references; there's a rather oversimplified version of the story here: )

There's also a paper on patients with unilateral neglect. These people are not (consciously) aware of the left half their visual field. When they're asked to bisect a line, they cut it further to the right than the left. When the same people are asked what's half-way between 2 and 6, they say 5. So it seems that our abstract thinking is crucially based on our visual processing.

Maybe the reason we've learned so little about brains to date is that they are seriously weird...

#39 ::: Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2003, 01:30 PM:

Shweta, you might be interested to read up on Pepperberg's parrot work; one of her more interesting claims is that to properly language-train a parrot, you need to make it a social activity. Alex, her first experimental parrot, was initially trained by having lab assistants perform the tasks around him; he picked up the skills by imitation, not by being directly conditioned. Pepperberg says this is the reason that she was able to get much better results than earlier work based on more standard conditioning paradigms, which involve offering food rewards to a hungry bird (Alex always had food ad lib).

On the detailed anatomy, though, you need to take into account just how different bird brains actually are. I think "optic lobe" refers to homologs of mammalian subcortical structures like the superior colliculus (and elaborations on those and similar structures, like the wulst, which don't seem homologous to much of anything in mammals); see here for a moderately detailed discussion. Birds don't have much cerebral cortex, though some of the structures they do have are likely playing analogous roles. (Though that statement, in turn is complicated by our limited knowledge about what those roles are...)

#40 ::: Lisa Padol ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2003, 01:59 PM:

Oh, and ask Avram for the raven stories his house guest tells. All of them are true, I believe.

#41 ::: shweta ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2003, 04:34 AM:

Charles, I'm pretty familiar with Pepperberg's work; I've read several of her papers, seen her speak, and spoken to her. (That was four or five years ago, which is a pity, because I've forgotten the details of her anecdotes). I wasn't bringing her up because so many people already had :)

I'm not at all familiar with the avian neuroanatomy -- thanks a lot for that link! Human neuroanatomy is hard enough... must read more.

#42 ::: Isabeau ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2003, 04:35 PM:

There are no crows in Chicago nowadays, thanks to the West Nile virus. I miss them (sigh).

#43 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2004, 09:12 AM:

I live with a double yellow headed amazon parrot, he is 26 years old (yes, that is in human years). I have had him for the last eleven years and he is definitely the most intelligent non-human animal I have ever known and much more that a pet.
He sometimes puts together sentences spontaneously. One time I was eating a pop-tart and I did not want to share with him because it is junk food, and of course I make sure he eats healthier that I do. After numerous requests of "Polly want a cracker" which is his way of saying can I have some of what you are eating? He said to me " Cheryl! Come on bird! Polly want a cracker!" He had never said this combination of phrases before, it was very funny.
I got Poncho (that is his name) when he was 15 years old (I was thirteen years old). For the first month that we had him the only two words he would utter were: "Donna" and "Robert" (with a calling tone) these were his previous owners who had sold him because they felt they could not give him the time and attention that he required. After that first month he has never said Donna or Robert again, yet he maintains the rest of his vocabulary.
Another time I went out of town for a week and my boyfriend stayed with Poncho. My boyfriend said Poncho was very sad and kept looking for me and calling my name, so in order to convince Poncho that I was not in the house he let him out of his cage to have a look around. Poncho went from room to room (even looking in the closets) and upon entering each room he called out my name. After searching the whole house he was satisfied that I was not there hiding somewhere and went back to his cage. When I came home later that week it was as if he could not believe his eyes, he did a double take and repeated over and over "HI! Hello! Hi! Hello! Come here! Hi!" It was the best welcome home ever :)

#45 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2004, 01:18 PM:

Whoops! Sure is. Thanks, Kate. This one's going to hell by express mail.

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