Yet more evidence supporting the intelligence of birds (or at least, certain species). Figaro, a Goffin’s cockatoo (an Indonesian parrot species) was observed by researchers to have spontaneously started to create thin stick tools out of wooden aviary beams and use them for raking in nuts out of his reach. The researchers wondered whether other cockatoos could learn from Figaro’s behaviour, and so let them observe what he was doing.
The cockatoos were placed in front of a metal cage containing a nut and given a small flat piece of wood.
After several attempts to reach the nut by poking the unwieldy piece of wood under the cage, the birds quickly realised that something smaller was required, and set about making a smaller tool.
Cockatoo Figaro was the first to start sculpting sticks to reach the food but his actions were soon copied by birds who were watching.
And researchers at Oxford University and the University of Vienna found that the copying birds began to refine the technique, changing Figaro’s slow raking process to a quick, more efficient, flick.