The cockatoos of the Taimbar are very skilled birds in creating instruments, at least in laboratory environments, and have recently demonstrated their abilities even in nature. In particular, on the Tanimbar Islands in Maluku in Indonesia, scientists observed them while creating tools for better access to food.
“I couldn’t believe it!” said cognitive biologist Mark O’Hara of the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. “When I offered the cocking a forest fruit, one of the birds started to create an instrument with a branch. It was incredible how skill and competence the bird could use this instrument.”
The manufacture of tools has been observed in many species, from crows to primates. The cockatoos have demonstrated their ability to build in the laboratory, but the experts did not think they could do so even in nature. So the experts left for Indonesia and installed cameras in the tree hairs, recording almost 885 hours of observations. Nevertheless, they could not see anything.
Later, researchers took 15 of these creatures and put them in a volleyball club, giving them many Hala Fruit (a fruit also called seamango). Birds eat the seeds of these fruits, but they are very difficult to extract. So two of the fifteen cockatoos modeled tools from branches, using their beaks and their languages.
Three instruments were used: the first was a wedge inserted into the seed to detach it; the second was a sharper instrument, like a knife, used to cut and penetrate the protective coating around the seed; while the last was very similar to a teaspoon to Interestingly, only two of the birds have turned to the use of tools to eat the fruit. Such behavior, therefore, is not genetic.
By the way, recently also orangutans have used an unknown tool.