Give a Bird a Bone

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Before we start…I never fed this bird. Honest!!

Everyone knows I feed birds, but I never fed this one. He found his own bone. We just happened to walk past while he tried to eat it. What a process that turned out to be.

During a stroll at Oxley Creek Common, a nice nature area on the outskirts of Brisbane we came across this Grey Butcher bird busy trying to eat what looks like a small bone with some gristle attached. Where he got it from two kilometers from any habitation is anyone’s guess. But he had it and he was determined to keep it and eat it. Paranoid some other bigger bird was going to come along and steal the meal it busily tried every trick in the book to stash it in a secure location.

The bone and gristle was just too big for the bird to break up on the ground, so it’s plan was to carry it up into a tree and securely wedge it between two branches. It’s idea was that once firmly wedged in place it could then tear at the sinew and remaining meat….this was quite an intelligent bird. However the problem was that each time it wedged the bone and then pulled at the gristle to get it free either the bone came loose and had to re-positioned or it dislodged and fell to the ground meaning the whole process had to start over, all the while under the barrel of my Canon.

STEP 1: Find a suitable branch.


STEP 2: Position and wedge the kill by pulling it down between the two branches.



STEP 3: Check if it looks OK. Re-position it if it isn’t.


STEP 4: Get stuck in. Tear off the gristle without dislodging the kill. Eat well.Enjoy!



Watching this process one can’t help but be impressed by this birds intelligence. We all know Magpies and Butcher birds stash food and most likely this birds parents taught it how to lodge food in a tree. But the process to wedge between two branches like this one, by wriggling and pulling indicates a sophisticated analytical mind.

This bird is definitely not dumb!

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