Via a story on Care 2 Make a Difference…
Researchers (Miyata et al) have been studying the Kea parrot of New Zealand. These beautiful birds are called the “clown of the mountains” and are known for being rather bold, playful creatures. I remember hearing stories a few years ago about how they had developed a taste for any little bit of rubber on cars. Hee hee. Skiiers would come back to their cars after a day on the mountain and find their handiwork.
Miyata and his colleagues tested the birds using boxes with fruit locked in them. The first round of tests were too easy for them – so they made them haarder. They made it more like a puzzle – where the bolts had to be put in specific positions or they would block their ability to open the boxes. For the harder tests, they let some of the birds study the obstacles before letting them touch them and found that made them much faster at solving the riddle of the box! In other words, they could create a strategy based on observation – it wasn’t just trial and error that let them succeed in opening the boxes to get the fruit.
Researchers have also found that Kea can learn by watching other Kea.