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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Clever those Crows

It is well known that Crows are rather clever birds. However a university of Auckland study has shown that New Caledonian Crows are smarter than the average Crow.

These crows can use separate tools in quick succession to retrieve an out-of-reach snack. The birds use their bills to whittle twigs into hooks and cut and tear leaves into barbed probes that can extract bugs and grubs from crevices.

The scientists set seven wild birds a further task

  • A scrap of meat, which was tucked away, out of reach, in a box;
  • A small twig, which was too short to reach the food;
  • And another longer twig, which was long enough to reach the food, but was locked away well out of bill-grabbing range in another box.

The birds surprised the scientists with how quickly they solvevd the task.

The lead author Alex Taylor said "The creative thing the crows did was to use the short stick to get the long tool out of the box so that they could then use the long stick to get the meat."

Six out of Seven got this right first time! And they then reversed the position of the twig and the birds readjusted.

Smart birds eh


oldcrow61 said...

They are brilliant, and one of my favorite birds.

st said...

Once saw a film where crows, watch the traffic lights.
When red they fly down and place a nut in front of the wheels of a car. The car moves off at green squashes the nut, but the crow waits at it's perch until the lights are red to reap the rewards. If memory serves me right, it was on the bbc and the birds were in japan