Sulfur-crested Cockatoos learn from each other to open wheelie bins in order to forage for food and the behavior quickly spreads to Sydney , according to new research .
With the help of public, Australian and German conservationists have documented that cockatoos learn diving behavior in interactions, with reported sightings of the behavior increasing across Sydney in recent years.
The researchers called on Australians to report sightings of cockatoos opening the lids of trash cans . Prior to 2018, trash foraging was only observed in three suburbs of Greater Sydney and Wollongong: Barden Ridge, Helensburgh and Sutherland.
The possibility of open themGarbage cans had become widespread by the end of 2019, with sightings reported in 44 suburbs.
Dr Barbara Klump of the Max Planck Institute of Behavior animal in Germany, which was a lead author of the study, said the behavior spread faster to nearby areas than to more remote suburbs, suggesting that cockatoos learned by observing others , rather than figuring out how to open the trash cans on their own.
"It doesn 't appear randomly in these 44 suburbs at the same time, but it does follows ... the geographic layout of the suburbs, "Klump said.
The sulfur-crested cockatoo is a very intelligent parrot species known in Australia for his shrill cries and sometimes behavior destroyer . This is one of the fewknown non-human species able to dance to the beat of music, as in the case of viral sensation Snowball, the dancing cockatoo .
Following the investigation, the researchers tagged and observed 486 cockatoos. On direct observations, they found that about 10% of the birds, most of which were males, were able to open the trays. The rest of the cockatoos waited until the trash cans were opened to share the loot.
The process of a cockatoo opening a wheelie bin lid is " pretty tricky from both a motor action and a physical strength perspective, "Klump said." It's a very complex and multi-step sequence that they have to learn. "
Klump hypothesizes that more male cockatoos have managed to open the bacs potentially because they are larger, or more dominant and "restricting access to the [food] resource ".
The research, published in the journal Science , also found differences in the technique of opening cockatoos' garbage cans between different suburbs, derived from "local subcultures".
"We found that if we looked, for example, at all the birds in Stanwell Park - even though some of them had individual differences - and if we compared them to the birds of Sutherland ... the difference [in technique] is larger than inside each of these sites. "
Cockatoos also seemed to differentiate between red- lidded general bins and yellow lidded recycling bins based on theircolor. When observed 88.8% of the time the birds opened general trash cans.
The idea for the study was born when one of the co-authors, Dr Richard Major of the Australian Museum, once observed the behavior on his way to work.
Researchers aren't sure how the behavior started, but Taronga Conservation Society co-author Dr John Martin said it could have come from scavenging cockatoos in bins that were too full or opened in high winds. .
"These kinds of foraging opportunities have actually been a catalyst for the birds to start exploring the tanks," Martin said.
Researchers also noted that a cockatoo in Narraweena, north Sydney, appeared to have spontaneously taught the behavior itself in late 2018. "That one couldn't bee explained by social learning because it was too far away [from other documented cases] "said Klump. " From that suburb to the surrounding suburbs it was again acquired by observation.
"The interesting question now is whether this continues to spread.
Martin said that there were reports of behavior in Victoria that they were planning to investigate. "We would like to receive more information to confirm when and if this behavior occurs in other parts of Australia.
The researchers resume the survey and search for Answers online from Australians to find out if they have spotted cockatoo bin openings. "Having an answer that is " No, that is not happening here "is also important to this investigation for us "said Martin.