New Zealand Dog News

Reviewing the dog news in New Zealand with editors comments. Someone needs to keep reviewing how our dogs are doing in society.

August 16, 2010

Thieving parrots hatch a plan to unlock food

Kea parrots are renowned thieves in their native New Zealand, and with good reason - even a complicated sequence of locks can't foil them.
Hiromitsu Miyata of Kyoto University in Japan first presented keas with boxes of food secured with up to three bolts. The parrots managed to open all of them, so he made the tasks harder. The most challenging set-up involved two bolts blocking each other such that one needed to be slid open before the second would release.
Miyata found that the keas cracked this problem faster if they were allowed to study the set-up for a while before attempting to break it (Animal Cognition, DOI: 10.1007/s10071-010-0342-9). This suggests they are able to plan their moves, he says. Until now, the birds were thought to tackle problems in a haphazard fashion.


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