Puzzles are for the birds.

The vast majority of topics covered by this blog involve puzzles created, solved, and enjoyed by humans, but every once in a while, I stumble across a story that reminds me puzzle-solving is hardly restricted to bipedal opposable-thumb-toting mammals like ourselves.

Yes, much like the intrepid and wily octopus who graced the pages of this blog a few months ago, we proudly welcome another species into the puzzle-fiend world:

The cockatoo.

Scientists recently tested the Goffin’s Cockatoo’s ability to manipulate various locks and deadbolts to see both how the birds negotiated the locks (which often operated in sequence, requiring several different actions in a certain order) and then whether the birds would apply previously-learned patterns to new variations they encountered.

It turns out the birds weren’t flummoxed at all by the variations, moving through them with the same deftness, tenacity, and creativity it took to achieve their tasty prizes in the first place. (Click here for greater detail on the experiments themselves.)

Yes, some of the birds figured it out by observing others, or by encountering each of the locks individually at first, but at least one of the birds solved it without any assistance whatsoever. Truly, this cockatoo is the door-opening snake of the bird kingdom, meant to be feared and respected in equal measure. (Video link for those interested in door-opening snake evidence.)

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to add another species to the list of puzzle-solving creatures. After all, we’ve got anagramming dogs and word-weaving spiders here at PuzzleNation, so there’s plenty of precedents.

In any case, please welcome the Goffin’s cockatoo to our puzzle-loving family, and enjoy this video of the cockatoo locksmiths (lockatoos?) at work:

4 thoughts on “Puzzles are for the birds.

  1. Pingback: Birdbrain, indeed! | PuzzleNation.com Blog

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  3. Pingback: These brain teasers are the cat’s meow. | PuzzleNation.com Blog

  4. Pingback: Solving puzzles is the bee’s knees! | PuzzleNation.com Blog

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