Water Week

EWN Publishing

Eye in the sky: Tiny video cameras, small enough to fit in the palm of a hand attached to tail feathers of 18 crows

Posted by waterweek on 9 October 2007

Tiny video cameras, small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, were attached to the tail feathers of 18 crows. With their lenses pointing out between the legs of the birds, the cameras captured colour footage of the crows foraging for food. The scientists, led by Dr Christian Rutz, from the university’s Depart­ment of Zoology, found that the birds employed a surprisingly wide range of tool materials, including sticks and grass-like stems. One crow used at least three different tools for probing loose material on the ground for about 45 minutes — a foraging technique not observed before, reported The Courier Mail (6/10/2007, p.24).

Flying eye: Crows – famous for performing tricks with tools have been allowed to star in their own reality show —filming themselves in the wild with TV cameras attached to their tail feathers. But although they are known to cut leaves into shaped tools for digging grubs out of logs and branches, much about their behav­iour in the wild remains a mystery.

South Pacific test: The crows, which live on the New Caledonia and Loyalty islands in the South Pacific, are sensitive to human disturbance and inhabit remote, forested mountainous areas. To find out more about what the crows get up to away from humans, researchers from the UK’s Oxford University hit on the ingenious solution.

The Courier Mail, 6/10/2007, p. 24


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