Sam and I are going to try to train our blue jays to use tools.
From my observations of them today, they are extremely food motivated, they seem to show some degree of object permanence, and they have a competitive social hierarchy. There are three jays that we are feeding: I do not know their gender.
There is one who swoops in and out, and gulps down two nuts while carrying another in his beak. The second is the watcher. He sits in a branch, and dive bombs the plate. Finally, there is the waiter. She comes in last, while the other two are eating their nuts and takes one nut.
We attempted an experiment to see if meat would be a possible alternate edible reinforcer. All three birds investigated, and ultimately, rejected this offering, flying away toward the cemetery.
The last one to leave was the waiter. After the other two had flown away, she descended from the spruce tree, sniffed the meat, looked at me, and flew away behind her fellow jays.
They found the new feeding station within one day. It took them a week to find the prior station.
Tomorrow, we’re putting the nuts in a mason jar with no lid. This will be their first simple puzzle.