It’s trash war between humans and cockatoos every day in Australia

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It’s trash war between humans and cockatoos every day in Australia

Cockatoos, distinguished by their crest, belong to the same family as parrots. In recent years, they have developed amazing new faculties, such as being able to open the trash cans.

A cockatoo opening a trash can

A race for interspecies innovation

According to a study published in Current Biologythis interspecies challenge represents a hitherto unexplored phenomenon. Indeed, humans have managed their trash can so that it cannot be opened until it is picked up. However, these birds, more stubborn than ever, have found ways to snoop inside. Most impressive is the way cockatoos get rid of the protections put in place by humans.

Research shows that humans, at the idea of ​​seeing their waste scattered in the street, have learned to adapt. The town of Stanwell Park, near Sydney, is on the front line of the battle.

Skie Jones, one of the townspeople, said he had resorted to an elastic rope to hold the lid of your trash can. Before that, the birds found a way to remove a brick and a stone placed above the cover.

“I feel like I need a real padlock, it’s only a matter of time. »

Stages of adaptation and learning

Despite the measures taken by humans, the birds are fighting back. Scientists found in a previous study that cockatoos learn from their companions by sight. Indeed, when one of them finds the solution to the blockages, the latter may no longer work the next time.

Cockatoos can reach the length of a human arm. That said, they have no difficulty holding the lid of a trash can with the spout. They perform it while standing near the edge. Then, they just have to push until the tray opens.

They evolve, yes. five or ten years ago, they didn’t know how to open the bins, so they find solutions.”

Matt Hoddo, cafe manager

In a count of 3,283 tanks, the cockatoos were able to bypass most low-level protections. Conventional tricks like rubber snakes and bricks no longer work against them. However, weights attached to the lid or an object stuck in the hinge from the trash can still seem to work.

“The bricks seemed to work for a while, but the cockatoos got too smart.”

A resident during an online survey that attracted more than 1,000 participants

Disturbing, but appreciated

Despite the trash war, cockatoos are loved by locals. Some are fascinated by their intelligence.

“They have some problem-solving skills, and we know they’re super curious and like to explore.”

Still others simply enjoy them, like Katherine Erskine, owner of Uluwatu Blue Cafe.

“They’re beautiful and they’re really loud – but I really like them.”


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