It seems we’re humans aren’t the only Toolmongers in the animal kingdom — thanks to Researchers from the University of Oxford — who mounted tiny half-ounce cameras to the tail feathers of New Caledonian crows — we now know that these very special birds make and use their own simple tools.
The researchers, led by Christian Rutz, found that the crows not only stripped grass into thin blades to use as probes, but also foraged for specific grass stalks, used them for long periods of time, and carried them in flight to use at other job sites. These crows can also “fish” for insects using tools made from sticks or leaves. And in 2002, one New Caledonian crow named Betty repeatedly bent a piece of straight wire into a hook to retrieve food, working out her own solution to a new problem.
Because of Betty’s behavior, the researchers who worked with her claim that New Caledonian crows “rival nonhuman primates in tool-related cognitive capabilities.” That is, our feathered friends may have more tricks up their sleeves than being the best pilots around.