Researchers have found a way to observe crows by attaching ultra light video cameras that are fastened to their tail feathers, making it an extremely versatile tool to use. First used in wild New Caledonian crows, the researchers have observed them and come to a conclusion that these crows are highly intelligent, demonstrating remarkable cognitive and tool making abilities. In fact, field studies of remnants left by tool-making birds—such as leaves that had been bitten into strips to serve as probes also left the door open to suggest that tool use is common among wild populations.
Before this development, researchers had little or no chance to make direct observations of crows making and using tools in their natural habitat, since it is extremely difficult to do so in the wild. Guess with the help of such cameras, you will be able to enjoy a new documentary on the lives of these crows on National Geographic sometime down the road. These Caledonian crows currently reside in mountainous forests on islands in the South Pacific, while those in the wild are extremely sensitive to disturbance by human observers.
These tiny tail mounted cameras weigh a mere 13 grams (half an ounce) – that’s the equivalent of a couple of US quarters, hence making them virtually unnoticeable to the crow themselves. According to Christian Rutz, the leader of the research team, “The lens is pushed forward through the central tail feathers and peeks through the bird’s legs. You have a shot showing part of the crow’s belly and whatever appears in front of the bird.” This point of view gives the closest thing yet to a bird’s-eye view of behavior in a natural setting. Hopefully with the advancement of technology, we’ll soon be able to see such footage in High Definition glory instead of standard definition.
Source: National Geographic