Birds use science tools too?

Blog Guest Authored from Dr. Matthew Bobrowsky
Delaware State University
Hawaiian crows are tool users

Hawaiian crows (Corvus hawaiiensis) have joined the list of a few bird species that use tools. Tested in big aviaries, Hawaiian crows frequently picked up a little stick and deftly worked it around to nudge out hard-to-reach tidbits of meat that researchers had pushed into holes in a log. Sometimes researchers would set out sticks for the crows to use, but the crows were often dissatisfied with researchers’ sticks and sometimes flew into the shrubbery and selected their own tools for the task. Because Hawaiian crows are extinct in the wild, researchers had the unusual ability to test literally all adult members of the species. Youngsters too developed tool skills on their own. Bird species that use tools are most often native to remote tropical islands. For example, the Galapagos woodpecker finch is another bird species proven expert in tool use. Remote islands may favor the evolution of such capacities, as there are no true woodpeckers there to compete with birds for treats in crevices. And there are few predators lurking to pounce on a bird distracted with its head almost in a hole.

Follow the link below to see the crows in action with their science tools!

Hawaiian crows ace tool-user test