Puffins Make Their Own Back Scratchers
In 2014, a researcher near Wales spotted a puffin using a stick to scratch itself. But it would be another four years before she could finally capture the action using motion capture cameras in Wales and Iceland. The camera recorded two different puffins hundreds of miles apart, scratching their backs and chest with sticks. Tool use had never been observed before in the birds, which, like other seabirds, had not been considered to be particularly intelligent. Parrots are the only other birds that have been observed using sticks to scratch. The researchers believe that the difficulty in observing seabirds may have caused us to miss other signs of tool use. “‘Seabirds’ cognitive capacities may have been considerably underestimated,” they wrote.