A photo of a miniature video camera attached to a released wild New Caledonian crow. NC crows are extremely difficult to see and follow in the wild, so we use miniature cameras to see what they're up to. This model transmits about an hour of video 24 or 48 hours after release and we beam the data in through satelite dishes.
A diagram showing how our miniature cameras see through the legs of the New Caledonian crows to provide a view of their bills (which they use to manipulate tools).
Video Tracking Composite
This diagram appears in RUTZ, C., BLUFF, L. A., WEIR, A. A. S. & KACELNIK, A. (2007). Video cameras on wild birds. — Science 318, 765-765
I made a 3D model of the crowcam units for this diagram and for an animation I made. This diagram appears in BLUFF, L. A. & RUTZ, C. (2008). A quick guide to video-tracking birds. — Biology Letters 4, 319-322
I modelled the 3D terrain of the area where we recorded the video footage for this image
New Caledonian Crow Probing
This photo was taken from a larva's perspective at the bottom of a hole. It won the concepts category of the BBSRCs photo competition in 2010
Foraging ecology of wild New Caledonian crows
Panel A outlines the Study rationale. NC crows consume a range of foods, but require tools to extract wood-boring beetle larvae from their burrows. These larvae, with their unusual diet, have a distinct isotopic signature that can be traced in the crows’ feathers and blood. By comparing the stable isotope profiles of the crows’ tissues with those of their putative food sources, the proportion of larvae in crow diet can be estimated, providing a proxy for individual-level tool-use dependence. Panel B shows Isotope signatures (13C and 15N) of feathers (corrected for trophic enrichment) with error bars.
Nutritional significance of seven different food sources for New Caledonian crows
from Rutz, C. Bluff, L.A. Reed, N. Troscianko, J. Newton, J. Inger, R. Kacelnik, A. & Bearhop, S. (2010). The Ecological Significance of Tool Use in New Caledonian Crows — Science: 329, 1523-1526