Crows and their close relatives ravens are known to be quite intelligent, with scientific experiments showing how they can hitch rides on bald eagles and remember the faces of captors. New research has now uncovered a previously unknown ability, with crows being observed building tools from multiple parts for the first time ever.
There are scientists who believe corvids, the family that includes crows, ravens, rooks and jays, may be among the most intelligent animals on Earth due to their memories, problem-solving skills and ability to anticipate future events. But while it has been known for years that crows have the ability to use tools, combining multiple elements to create them is something that until now has only been observed in humans and great apes.
In what is described as an astonishing mental feat, scientists at the University of Oxford and Max Planck Institute for Ornithology have watched on as New Caledonian crows assembled implements from smaller component parts.
The work involved an experiment where eight New Caledonian crows were presented with a puzzle box they had never seen before. Inside the box was a small food container behind a door with a slender gap along the bottom. Sticks long enough to pull the food towards the opening were scattered nearby, with every single one of the birds able to use the tools to retrieve their snacks without too much trouble.