Corvids’ cre­ative feed­ing strat­egy is a big hit

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

We were in North­ern Ire­land re­cently, near the shore of Strang­ford Lough. We watched a Hooded Crow flut­ter­ing up and down quite close to the ground. My hus­band sug­gested it was try­ing to crack some­thing open by drop­ping it. The bird then gave up that strat­egy and walked along the shore a bit, and picked up what looked like a piece of rock. Could it have been in­tend­ing to use this rock to help break open what­ever it was drop­ping ear­lier?

QCorvids are very in­tel­li­gent birds, and many species have dis­played tool use in a va­ri­ety of sit­u­a­tions, and in some very cre­ative ways. Crows in Ja­pan have learned to use cars to crack wal­nuts for them by de­lib­er­ately leav­ing the nuts on pedes­trian cross­ings, and the New Cale­do­nian Crow has been recorded man­u­fac­tur­ing hook-shape tools to help them ex­tract in­sects from their hid­ing places. As for your Hoodie, it is en­tirely pos­si­ble that, frus­trated by ear­lier ef­forts to break into a shell­fish or sim­i­lar, this bird de­cided to grab a ham­mer to do the job prop­erly!

A

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