Science Snapshot: Fine Feathered Foes

Australians are resorting to increasingly drastic measures to keep cockatoos out of their garbage bins.

Lisa Winter
Lisa Winter

Lisa Winter became social media editor for The Scientist in 2017. In addition to her duties on social media platforms, she also pens obituaries for the website. She graduated from Arizona State University, where she studied genetics, cell, and developmental biology.

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Sep 14, 2022

It’s a battle of wits down in Australia between sulfur-crested cockatoos (Cacatua galerita) and humans who own garbage bins. Scientists discovered last year that as some birds were opening the lids of garbage cans to access scraps of food inside, their comrades were watching and learning the tricks of the trade. A paper published Monday (September 12) in Current Biology has reported that even as humans try to add obstacles to the birds’ such as weighing the lid down or covering the lip so there isn’t a way to pry it open, the birds are finding new ways to solve the problem.