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If I have a civilization of birds, could they, in and of themselves, create an infrastructure of "advanced nests"? Could they build weaponry? These birds, raptors, have an educational system, political, military, blacksmith, etc. So they can do rudimentary things like make a spear, or sew together skins, have a smelter and so on. They are more tribal, so I say "system" but it is not as advanced as humans.

I did this before I had seen anything about Guardians of Ga'Hoole, and to me it is irrelevant, as I would like to know the plausibility.

Would the birds require help from other species? They don't have hands like mice and rats do.

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When angered, birds will build giant slingshots to defend against egg-stealing pigs. – Lindsey D Jan 22 at 20:57

While birds do not have hands, they do have feet and beaks, which they use to grasp and manipulate objects. Their ability to perform any of the tasks you mentioned will depend greatly on the species of bird you have in mind, but many species of bird are relatively intelligent and skilled at manipulating objects in their beaks or feet, so they should be able to handle rudimentary tools.

A problem I can see straight away is size and mass. Most birds that can fly are smaller than humans, and much lighter. This may not hinder them in a world of buttons and switches, but when they're expected to perform tasks like blacksmithing and construction with just muscle power, the little birds will probably struggle.

You can solve some of these problems by incorporating many different species of bird into your society. Big birds like ostriches or emus have strong legs and necks, which they can use to do the heavy lifting, while the smaller birds can deal with the more precise tasks. There are many bird species that have specialized to do something very well; if you can put them to use in a place where they can use these specializations, I definitely think a bird society could work. But if all you have is one species of bird, especially a tiny one, then I think they're really going to struggle.

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I had actually left out that I had corvids in the mix, not just raptors. This is good advice. Thanks. – johnny Jan 22 at 18:45

For inspiration, have a look at what Bower birds can do - they build houses with structural supports, a roof, even a little 'garden'. And they fill their houses with beautiful objects. There is a good Attenborough on this -

Also, Crows are incredible crafty. They can use tools to solve 8-step puzzles. Again, there is a video on youtube -

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Yes, Corvids are like what I read somewhere, "Feathered Apes." But just how much is believable? – johnny Jan 22 at 18:46
The Bower bird is amazing. Thank you. – johnny Jan 22 at 18:51

"Real Life" birds are known tool users:

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I think it is believable to have an avian type species that use a combination of beaks, tongues, and talons to perform the manipulation that they require. Just remember, having been born that way they won't know there's any better way to do things.

I also think the brains are more important than the quality of their graspers - but maybe that's just me.

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