Researchers were stunned to discover that a captive cockatoo was able to build its own tools.
Cockatoos in their native habitat have never been observed making tools, but now captive cockatoo Figaro has turned what is known about the birds on its head by manufacturing a number of stick based tools to retrieve food placed on the other side of a wire mesh. Toolmaking and problem solving of this level is considered to be exceedingly rare in nonhuman animals.
In one incident Figaro took 25 minutes to pull a splinter of wood from a wooden beam and then used it to move some food closer to him so that he could pick it up with his beak. "He did everything: tool use, tool manufacture, and tool modification," said biologist Alice Auersperg. "Two other cockatoos (Heidi and Pipon) were also tested, but neither succeeded at the task_although Heidi, who had witnessed Figaro at work, did break off small pieces of wood and inserted them through the mesh."
"Figaro may not be as talented an inventor as Leonardo da Vinci, but among Goffin's cockatoos, he's a prodigy."
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