Cockatoo intelligence and social learning

We’ve been underestimating birds for far too long. Here’s a great story about how Australian cockatoos have figured out how to open lidded trash bins and how the knowledge has been spreading through local populations via social learning. There are even regional cockatoo cultures which differ in which bin-opening technique the local birds use.

Crafty cockatoos master dumpster diving and teach each other

“Teach each other” is a bit of an exaggeration, but they do learn from each other.

People have tried weighting the lids with rocks and bricks, but cockatoos have figured out how to deal with that, too. Watch this cockatoo systematically dismantle the defenses in order to get at the trashy goodies:

18 thoughts on “Cockatoo intelligence and social learning

  1. You MUST be doing better, keiths!
    That’s all I care about.
    Disagreements aside when human dignity is on the line.

  2. Do you have any tips how to keep raccoons out, a bit? I love the creatures but they poo right in front of my son’s room window because we built a sunroom/green house there that gives them an access to that area. All I want is for them to poo somewhere else… lol

  3. J-Mac,

    There are various liquid and solid animal repellents on the market but I don’t know how well they work.

    It isn’t clear from your description, but are the raccoons coming through some kind of opening? If so, could you cover the opening with chicken wire or some kind of mesh?

    Raccoons used to come into my yard and menace my cats, so I would spray them with a Super Soaker. They seemed to hate being sprayed as much as cats do. To maximize their terror, I would chase and spray them all the way back to the storm drains from which they had emerged.

    It wasn’t practical to stand guard every night, of course, but the experience was apparently traumatic enough that they would steer clear of my yard for a while after being sprayed.

    Remembering that got me wondering whether anyone was selling some sort of motion-detector-based animal sprayer, so I looked around online and found several. Here’s one:

    Orbit Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler

    Raccoons are lovely, intelligent creatures, and I bear them no ill will in general, but they cross a red line when they start messing with my cats.

  4. keiths,

    Thanks keiths.
    I don’t have any pets. Not yet. I told my kids and wife if they want to pet someone, they can pet me anytime… lol I’m the only pet they are going to get until I officially retire. Then, I may get a dog and a cat at the some time…
    What do you think? Good or bad idea?

  5. We have bears. In three years I forgot just once to put the bin in the garage, and woke up with garbage everywhere.

  6. J-Mac:

    I may get a dog and a cat at the some time…
    What do you think? Good or bad idea?

    There’s no particular reason why cats and dogs can’t get along. Plenty of them do. It’s really just a matter of their individual personalities and how much exposure they’ve had to the other species. They often get along fine, and they may even bond, as shown in the image below.

    I would advise against getting both at the same time. If you’ve never had pets before, it’s best to start with one, learn the ropes, get some experience under your belt, and then decide whether to adopt another. And even if you do have pet experience, you don’t want a situation where the animals are getting used to you, the house, and each other all at the same time. Best to adopt separately.

  7. It’s hard not to feel sympathy for the crayfish, who get thrown to the cuttlefish like Christians to the lions.

    My niece wrote “Those poor crayfish have no chance to pass the marshmallow test because they ARE the marshmallow.”

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