Scientists in the Field
Spiral Notebook
Greetings from New Caledonia!
by Pamela Turner
August 11, 2014
 
Greetings from New Caledonia!
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Most people have a hard time finding New Caledonia on a map. But this Pacific island is host to one of the most interesting bird species on the planet: the New Caledonia crow.

What makes this bird so special? They are tool-users! But New Caledonian crows are also tool-makers, fashioning serrated “step tools” from the leaves of a tropical plant, and sculpting hooked tools from branches. Only one other species on the planet makes hooked tools: Homo sapiens.

I’m here in New Caledonia with photographer Andy Comins to research CROW SMARTS, an upcoming “Scientists in the Field.” We just spent five days hiding in a blind with Dr. Gavin Hunt of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, the scientist who discovered the birds’ unique abilities. We have some extraordinary photos and videos of the crows that we will share with you in future Adventure Notes. Stay tuned!

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About Pamela Turner

Pamela S. Turner lives in Oakland, California with her children and her husband. She has a B.A. in social science from UCAL-Irvine and a Master’s of public health from UCAL-Berkeley. She has written numerous books for young readers, including Hachiko and the Scientists in the Field titles Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Great Apes, The Frog Scientist, Project Seahorse, The Dolphins of Shark Bay and her forthcoming work, Crow Smarts. Visit her website at pamelasturner.com.

 

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