Page 1 of 1

smart birds

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:35 am
by kingofnobbys
Cockatoos innovate to open wheelie bins in Stanwell Park in search of top tucker
Research is continuing to find out how cockatoos are learning to replicate the bin-diving behaviour.

Perhaps it's the quality of the refuse and scraps, but Stanwell Park is the suburb of choice for highly innovative bin-diving sulphur-crested cockatoos.

John Martin, a scientist who has been monitoring the behaviour and how it is spreading among the birds, believes the area just north of Wollongong is ground zero for the cheeky practice.

"We have some of the first observations of this behaviour from even like five years ago in some of the local newspapers in that area, and it seems that the behaviour maybe started in Stanwell Park," he said.

"Maybe they just have the right rubbish to eat."

Clever, adaptive and innovative
Dr Martin, a researcher with the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, said the birds were adaptive and intelligent and had learnt there was food in bins.

"So they have learnt to actually open a suburban household bin and rummage through it and find those food scraps that we are throwing away but are a meal for the cockatoos.

"From a dietary perspective, it is not that big of an issue, however it is a bit of naughty behaviour.

"I don't think we need to be alarmed, but we should be alert that they might be outsmarting us."

He said while some people in nearby Helensburgh had put bricks on their bin lids, the cockatoos had been able to push them off.

"[They're] still being able to flip the bin lids open [with] a few different techniques they use ... different birds have different methods of opening the bin."

How far is the behaviour spreading?
Dr Martin is launching his third survey of the behaviour and hopes to better understand how far it is spreading.

"We have learnt that the birds are actually pretty lazy when it comes to moving around; some only move within a five-kilometre radius.

"They know all of their local streets and they know which night is bin night and they go to those streets and they target those bins."

He is also looking for information to help determine how the behaviour is learnt between individuals and neighbouring flocks of birds.

"The question of how it is spreading in the landscape and how common it is?

"We have had some really fantastic research conducted in the Stanwell Park, northern Wollongong region, but we also need to know where it might be starting anywhere along the northern beaches of Wollongong or down towards Lake Illawarra.

"We want to know, is it happening in Bega or across Sydney? There have been some reports out towards Campbelltown and the Sutherland Shire, so we are casting the net really wide." ... d=msedgdhp