No More Bird Brain Jokes, Please

Smart birds

Smart birdsBy Alexander Strange

Make all the jokes you want about ‘bird brains,” but these cockatoos have been intriguing scientists with their learning capabilities.

The photo, above, really tells the story.

What you are seeing is a sulfur-crested cockatoo in Sydney, Australia opening the lid of a trash can to forage for food. But notice how the other birds are watching. That’s the amazing part of this story.

Ornithologist Richard Mayor was intrigued with the ingenuity of the birds, how they figured out how to open the cans. And he was interested in discovering how they learned the trick.

At the time, a survey he conducted showed that birds in three Sydney suburbs had figured it out. A year later, birds in a whooping 44 suburbs were doing it.

The upshot of their research showed that the birds learned by watching one another. And the skill spread from there.

Birds of a feather do more than flock together. They also dumpster dive together.

STRANGE FACT: Cockatoos, though highly social, are monogamous.