Five years ago, Australian researcher Richard Major made a video of a cockatoo opening a brain trash lid in Sydney: he also shared the recording with researchers Barbara Klamp and Lucy Apelin, experts at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. The three scientists were electrified by what they saw: they immediately decided that they wanted to study the original and innovative course of action – Writes CNN.
They found that in five steps, the birds open trash cans that are a treasure trove. that’s it:
- They open the roof with their beaks
- They turn their necks and then jump to the side of the trash
- They keep the cover open with their beaks or legs
- Walking along the edge
- Push the cover back
According to a study published in the journal Science, animals teach each other a trick, which is then developed by each group in different ways. This type of behavior is difficult to study because it is rarely possible to recognize new patterns as they appear, and it is often difficult to determine that if a series of movements are performed by different animals in different ways, it is due to the environment or the animals themselves.
The sulfur-billed cockatoo offers a unique opportunity in Australia in this regard: they are highly social birds that live in large cities where standardized trash cans are used. Since millions of people can observe the behavior of birds, Sydney residents have also been involved in the research: it was in the scientists’ interest to know if cockatoos open trash cans. Before 2018, only three neighborhoods were reported by local residents, but by 2019, that number had risen to 44. This type of behavior spread more quickly into nearby neighborhoods, suggesting that it was not a coincidence but a learning process.
Few know the trick
The bird’s observations and signs also helped highlight: only one tenth of the birds could open the litter boxes, while the others waited for the pantry to open in front of them. In addition, each animal uses different tricks that allow it to open chests differently from its peers.
According to the researchers, such behaviors help animals survive in urban environments: in addition, it is very important for cockatoos to open the lid of the trash, that is, they adapt to the conditions in a very innovative way.
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