Bruce the Tool Using Parrot
September 11, 2021 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Bruce Is a Parrot With a Broken Beak. So He Invented a Tool (SLNYT).

The bird is a kea from New Zealand, and his fabrication of an instrument to help him preen his feathers appears to be unique, researchers say.

Alternate link (I hope it works)
posted by kathrynm (24 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is cool. Now I want Bruce to have a selection of different kinds of pebbles, from pumice to basalt to whatever, and let him work out his favorite exact kind of pebble for his grooming.

I wish I knew why it's so hard for people to believe animals use tools. They aren't really that dissimilar from us, even though we seem to stubbornly cling to the belief they and we are separate.
posted by hippybear at 6:53 PM on September 11 [10 favorites]


I for one welcome our exquisitely preened pebble-wielding parrot overlords.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:02 PM on September 11 [9 favorites]


Ok - dumbass joke out of the way, that's actually pretty impressive.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:04 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Kea are in general really smart, sadly they've been forced into the mountains by humans and are now endangered.

They're known for stripping your car of its windscreen wipers, or the rubber that holds the windscreen in place. They'll also enter your tent looking for food with just one claw swipe .....
posted by mbo at 7:12 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


the rubber that holds the windscreen in place

(Tiny side note from someone in the industry: unless you have a very old car, that rubber strip is weatherstripping and wind-noise prevention. Your windshield is generally held in place with a very thick urethane glue.)
posted by hippybear at 7:52 PM on September 11 [5 favorites]


Good job, birdie!

A friend of mine said that her poodle will entertain herself--like if they forget to bring a ball to throw her at the beach, she'll grab a stick or something. I was all, "That's it, I'm a poodle."
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:06 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


The Truth About Animals And Tools

- via NPR
posted by fairmettle at 8:10 PM on September 11


Huh. thought there was a comment in the wrong thread, but I was in the wrong thread!
posted by hippybear at 8:10 PM on September 11


NZ has a lot of older cars still in service (comes from having mandatory 6 monthly safety checks and no smog checks)

While this is likely a later model car I offer you "Kea destroying police car" and "kea car"
posted by mbo at 8:27 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine said that her poodle will entertain herself--like if they forget to bring a ball to throw her at the beach, she'll grab a stick or something.

I saw a small dog in the park yesterday entertaining himself with a ball while his owners watched nearby. He'd run frantically after the ball for a few minutes, zig-zagging wildly in every direction, but always kicking it forward with his own front legs just before he could reach it to pick it up with his mouth. Eventually, he'd catch it and then strut proudly along with the ball in his mouth for a few paces till, inevitably, he dropped it again and the whole process repeated.

I'm still not sure if he was deliberately kicking the ball beyond his own reach to prolong the game, or simply too excited to prevent himself doing so accidentally. I don't know if the drop was intentional or not either. Maybe he was just clumsy?

I suppose his owners must have thrown the ball once before I arrived, but from that point onwards, their participation didn't seem to be needed at all. They had an auto-exercising dog!
posted by Paul Slade at 12:07 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


My mother's cat steals her elastic hair ties and uses them to play fetch with himself: he holds one end of the tie in his mouth, stretches it out with one paw, then releases it with his mouth. The tie springs away, he dashes after it to capture and 'kill' it, then the game starts over.
posted by tumbling at 1:41 AM on September 12 [15 favorites]


I suppose his owners must have thrown the ball once before I arrived, but from that point onwards, their participation didn't seem to be needed at all.

Perpetual canine motion.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:38 AM on September 12


(Bruce the Tool) Using Parrot

or

Bruce the (Tool Using) Parrot

?
posted by j_curiouser at 8:23 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I suppose his owners must have thrown the ball once before I arrived, but from that point onwards, their participation didn't seem to be needed at all.

I remember once sitting on my front porch watching this guy walking a golden retriever. My house is on a fairly steep hill.

As they were walking up the hill, the doggo had a ball in his mouth which he would drop so that the ball would start rolling down the hill and the dog would run down the hill to catch it then run back to his owner. Rinse and repeat.

I'll admit it made me a bit nervous because I don't like seeing off leash dogs so close to the street, but it was super adorable. The dog figured out how to play fetch without needing human assistance!
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:49 AM on September 12


The dog figured out how to play fetch without needing human assistance!

Phase two of his plan is mastering the can opener.
posted by Paul Slade at 9:37 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Every time I hear about tool-using animals, I am reminded of a beef cow. This beef cow. This beef cow can DO A SKILL. Not a lot of fumbling there, cow clearly knows where to grab the handle and the motion needed to unhook the fence (these are sort of spring-loaded handles, you have to apply a certain amount of force to them to get them to work). There are videos of cows opening faucets and using pumps to get a drink, too. In both cases, the cow does not appear to be just messing about.

I am not saying that cows invent tools but they do know how to use tools that are designed by humans for use with human hands. Cows are smarter than most people think they are.
posted by which_chick at 10:13 AM on September 12 [7 favorites]


There’s also a decent chance that it is just that humans are stupider than we think we are.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:12 PM on September 12 [5 favorites]


Dinosaurs would have flown a spaceship to the moon.
posted by Beholder at 4:35 PM on September 12


‘Ello, Bruce.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:53 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I am not saying that cows invent tools..
Perhaps you are not saying that, but nevertheless certain efforts are documented in the literature.
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:34 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


I feel like there's a bawdy drinking song, about the lady pirate and the bird who could speak, and pick locks with his beak, 'coz he was Bruuuce, the Tool-Using Par-ROT!! in there somewhere. Or should be.
posted by bartleby at 8:35 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Evidently cows can be potty-trained which can help reduce emissions.
posted by bleary at 8:22 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


The moo queue for the loo.
posted by hippybear at 9:35 PM on September 13


I thought cow tools had been well documented.
posted by pompomtom at 11:10 PM on September 13


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