Left-handed birds?

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Left-handed birds?
From: "Chris Armstrong" <>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2005 01:01:36 +1000
I recently spent a week on private property near Bourke NSW.
I dont see too many Major Mitchell Cockatoos here in Warwick QLD so I was comfortable with "wasting" part of an afternoon observing a group of 11 feeding on the ground.
They were feeding by picking up the trefoil burrs with their beaks, then transferring the burr to their claw so they could then pull the spiral burr apart to get at the seeds. Without variation, each one held the burr in its left claw.
For about an hour I observed them and I saw no evidence of right handedness in any of the birds.
Are they natural lefties or could they be a family group where the technique is passed from one generstion to the next?
Any comments?
Chris Armstrong
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