Pirates usually come to mind rather than master thieves when we're talking parrots, but this clever bird could break into your house. It's capable of figuring out how a lock works to then pick it -- no human intervention needed.
The bird in the above video managed to do it all in about two hours, but it wasn't the only test subject. Other parrots also managed to pick the lock, but required at least limited instruction from a human.
The test was designed to examine the intelligence, understanding, goal-directed behaviour and learning from consequences that parrots are supposedly capable of. A nut was placed behind a perspex screen in a box that was sealed with a basic lock. To get to the nut the birds had to pick the lock by first removing a pin, then a screw, and finally by turning a wheel to release a latch. That doesn't sound very complicated to you or I, but it's a remarkable achievement for a bird because that kind of sequence couldn't be worked out from visual inspection alone -- the parrots needed to actually poke and turn things to see what happened before deciding how to proceed.
It seems Polly deserves a cracker for that effort. It's a little scary to think that birds, the descendants of dinosaurs, are capable of that level of intelligence don't you think? Maybe we should be more worried about the birds than the rise of the machines. [New Scientist]