The birthday child was distributing sweets among the class when the school principal stopped by.

After wishing the child a happy birthday and getting to know his age, the principal asked the following puzzle:

From a certain distance, a hunter spots 3 green parrots and 3 black crows sitting on a tree branch. Then, the hunter aims for a bird using his weapon and and shoots one green parrot. How many birds are left behind?

The smart child answers the puzzle covering all possible scenarios and impresses the principal.

Are you smarter than the fifth grader? Can you impress the principal?

Hint :

Please read carefully and cover all cases and assumptions. Think like a fifth grader.

This is another puzzle my classmate was asked in fifth grade and many of us in the class got it wrong. Apologies if it is a duplicate.


closed as too broad by Rohcana, Deusovi, moonbutt74, dennisdeems, Bailey M Sep 3 '15 at 15:26

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Likely because in spite of the correct answer being given, your are needlessy complicating the issue. But i'm a good sport so +1 $\endgroup$ – moonbutt74 Sep 3 '15 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ @moonbutt74 I was not accepting any answer for two reasons. 1) It requests me to wait 8 minutes for me to accept answer. 2) Secondly every answer till now assumed the weapon is a Gun. Not bow and arrow or stone or catapult which my classmate made a point to mention. $\endgroup$ – kanchirk Sep 3 '15 at 15:24
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    $\begingroup$ Even if the method of kill was a yam and saukraut milkshake, even a loose gathering of birds would notice, spook and take flight. $\endgroup$ – moonbutt74 Sep 3 '15 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ @moonbutt74 Good Point. I was being stubborn. Take a bow. $\endgroup$ – kanchirk Sep 3 '15 at 15:31
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    $\begingroup$ Well if the weapon was big enough there might not be any birds to spook and take flight. (excepting in my example) $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Sep 3 '15 at 15:31

Well at first it's

Just the dead parrot...

But then something happens.

The crows, being scavengers, return to eat the dead parrot.

So the answer is...

One, and then later 4. Provided the crows don't go and call their buddies, which can happen!

The alternative solution is a little simpler.

Only the dead parrot is left after the other birds fly away, and then the hunter takes the bird (so that it is no longer left behind) and he takes it off to go eat or stuff.

The puzzle points out a common misconception:

Many people think of hunters as simply shooters, but they hunt for a reason!

There are other situations:

The weapon is not a gun. It is a Death Star. As a result, as soon as the weapon is fired, the only bird left is the Millenium Falcon. HA. You didn't see that coming did you?

  • $\begingroup$ Like your answer better than others so far, but one assumption is incomplete/incorrect. Can you find it? I am going to go ahead and mark this as accepeted answer. $\endgroup$ – kanchirk Sep 3 '15 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ Well I've heard that parrots are also scavengers but I don't know if they're cannibals and I think they prefer veggies and fruits (and tree bark) over meat. It's possible that all of the birds return to eat, and then fly away afterwards. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Sep 3 '15 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ The "hunter" is a photographer, and his "weapon" is a camera. He shoots one parrot, disturbs no one, and all 6 birds are left sitting on the branch. $\endgroup$ – Aggie Kidd Sep 3 '15 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ The camera is a weapon? Sounds like something a cop would say in a dystopian society! $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Sep 3 '15 at 18:32

I know! I know!

The hunter has a green-parrot charged rifle, meaning that he literally SHOOTS GREEN PARROTS!! The bird he is aiming at is NOT on the same tree branch as the other birds, since seeing a comrade flying like a missile right in front of their eyes is too cold blooded also for the hunter. So on the branch 3 green parrots and 3 black crows remain.

  • $\begingroup$ @Narmer Great Answer !!! Wish I could plus 5 it. :-) $\endgroup$ – kanchirk Sep 3 '15 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ This is definitely the answer! xD $\endgroup$ – moonbutt74 Sep 3 '15 at 15:25
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    $\begingroup$ You forgot to add, they remain, stunned, slack-jawed, in amazement at such a weapon. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Sep 3 '15 at 15:25
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    $\begingroup$ That, or the "green parrot" he shot is a firecracker, and he shot it into the sky, attracting a swarm of birds who all go "ooh" and "ahhh" as they watch the display. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Sep 3 '15 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ The fifth grader in me was jumping hysterically with his and raised screaming "OH OH, ME! ME!!" $\endgroup$ – Narmer Sep 3 '15 at 15:31

Zero live birds, 1 dead bird. The sound of the weapon or the dropping dead of the bird scared the rest of the birds away.

  • $\begingroup$ Good answer. Assumption and explanation please. $\endgroup$ – kanchirk Sep 3 '15 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ Unless it's a muffled rifle from a great distance and the tree is large enough that the birds are spaced far enough apart so that one bird falling out of the tree is not noticed by the others. Even if it's not a muffled shot, there will still be 5 birds in the tree immediately after the bird is shot if the rifle fires at supersonic speeds so the sound has not yet reached the other birds. $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Sep 3 '15 at 14:58

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