Stick-toting puffins offer the first evidence of tool use in seabirds

Two birds observed four years and a sea apart turned sticks into feather scratchers

Atlantic puffin

Annette Fayet snapped this photo of an Atlantic puffin on Skomer Island in Wales in 2012. Two years later, the ecologist who studies seabirds would see something she’d never seen before: a puffin using a stick to scratch its feathers, a form of tool use.

Annette L. Fayet

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