Crows – Tools

Crows – Tools

Music; Ambience: American crow

JM: Which species are known to make tools? Well, humans, of course, chimpanzees and crows! I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. According to legends, humans may have known of the crows tool-making abilities for thousands of years.

CS: “There’s an Australian story told by the aborigines, about a conflict between the two great beings, the crow and the eagle.”

JM: Candace Savage is author of the book “Crows: Encounters with the Wise Guys of the Avian World.”

CS: “And the eagle, it seems, knew how to make wonderful spearheads with barbs, so that the spearhead wouldn’t pull out. And the crow was lagging behind, but, finally, by observing the eagle, was able to make, perfect the barbed spearhead and thence forth had wonderful tools to use.”

JM: This story echoes recent discoveries about a species of crow that lives on a small group of islands in the south Pacific

CS: “A species in which all of the members of all of the known populations make and use tools. Simple twigs that they break off and then hold in their beaks and use to probe into crannies in the bark or thickets of vegetation to pull out insects. They sometimes also modify these twig tools by just nibbling them at the crotch and where they’ve come off the tree to a little rounded hook. They also make “stepped tools.” They’re coarsely serrated along one end and the crows make these tools by cutting them with their beaks. And they also make the tools so that natural barbs on the sides of the leaves are pointed in the right direction that they can be used as rakes to help pull insects out of crevasses.”

JM: We’ll hear more about crows in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Crows - Tools

Humans aren't the only animals with tools. One species of crow has a whole arsenal of instruments that it uses to snag its dinner.
Air Date:04/17/2015
Scientist:
Transcript:

Crows - Tools

Music; Ambience: American crow

JM: Which species are known to make tools? Well, humans, of course, chimpanzees and crows! I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. According to legends, humans may have known of the crows tool-making abilities for thousands of years.

CS: "There's an Australian story told by the aborigines, about a conflict between the two great beings, the crow and the eagle."

JM: Candace Savage is author of the book "Crows: Encounters with the Wise Guys of the Avian World."

CS: "And the eagle, it seems, knew how to make wonderful spearheads with barbs, so that the spearhead wouldn't pull out. And the crow was lagging behind, but, finally, by observing the eagle, was able to make, perfect the barbed spearhead and thence forth had wonderful tools to use."

JM: This story echoes recent discoveries about a species of crow that lives on a small group of islands in the south Pacific

CS: "A species in which all of the members of all of the known populations make and use tools. Simple twigs that they break off and then hold in their beaks and use to probe into crannies in the bark or thickets of vegetation to pull out insects. They sometimes also modify these twig tools by just nibbling them at the crotch and where they've come off the tree to a little rounded hook. They also make "stepped tools." They're coarsely serrated along one end and the crows make these tools by cutting them with their beaks. And they also make the tools so that natural barbs on the sides of the leaves are pointed in the right direction that they can be used as rakes to help pull insects out of crevasses."

JM: We'll hear more about crows in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.