When Birds Outsmarted Humans

Scientists in Australia thought they had developed an innovative new tracking device to help them monitor magpies, but these crafty birds had other ideas. They unilaterally decided to opt out and began helping each other remove the devices. Scientists aren’t sure if the same individual bird removed all of the harnesses or if it was a “do-one-teach-one” situation. Scientists say their display of ingenuity is strong evidence of their altruism and advanced problem-solving skills. Referred to as “rescue behavior,” this type of behavior is common in warblers, who are known to liberate each other from sticky Pisonia grandis seeds. In the end, scientists tracking the magpies did manage to get the data they wanted, but their experiment also yielded some pretty interesting and unexpected results.