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Tool Usage by Juvenile Sitta pusilla (Brown-headed Nuthatch)
- Gray, Mary Mack, Schunke, Elliot W., Cox, James A.
- Southeastern naturalist 2016 v.15 no.2 pp. N12
- Sitta, adults, captive animals, juveniles, wild birds
- Although tool usage in adult birds is well documented, we have not found reports of juvenile birds using tools other than a few observations of individuals held in captivity. Here we describe the first observations of tool usage by juvenile birds in the wild. We observed juvenile Sitta pusilla (Brown-headed Nuthatch) using tools similar to those used by adults as early as 2 months post-fledging. We also observed juveniles attempting to use novel objects as tools, suggesting tool usage in this species may have both innate and learned components. Tool usage also takes place in 2 closely related nuthatch species and may be more common in this family of birds than currently known.