Inter-species learned behaviour

To: 'COG Mailing List' <>
Subject: Inter-species learned behaviour
From: Lindsay & Diana <>
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2015 04:44:38 +0000
Young of many species learn from their parents of course.   Humans,
either consciously or unknowingly, can affect bird behaviour also but
how significant is learning from a different species of bird? How
frequently do they consciously try things they see other birds doing?

Two examples from our yard.
1.  An adult female Satin Bower Bird took to picking clothes pegs (or
clothes pins if you are American) from the peg basket on the clothes
line and watching with some apparent satisfaction as gravity took over.
It wearied of that excitement after a short time but then the local
Chough family (who had never touched the pegs in the previous 25 years)
took over with a vengeance.  The basket would be almost emptied and it
became a bit annoying picking up pegs from all over the back yard.
Eventually they too wearied of the game and a couple of Currawongs tried
it a few times but you could almost see the puzzled expression on their
faces - "what buzz do you get out of this?"

2.  A couple of times when we happened to be watching, a local Raven
would drop an old bread crust in the bird bath to soften it before
eating.  Then we noticed one of the Choughs doing the same.  As
mentioned, the Choughs have been with us for 25 years and never showed
this behaviour before.

Any other examples?

Lindsay Nothrop

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