The resourcefulness and intelligence of animals rarely fail to impress me. Indeed, I am increasingly convinced that most simple human inventions aren’t original at all, just copies or modifications of what the more observant among us have seen performed in nature. For example, I ran across a picture recently showing a perfect circle “drawn” in the sand by the tip of a windblown blade of beach grass. It wasn’t hard to conclude how, upon seeing this, an astute early human fashioned the first crude drawing compass using simple natural materials at hand.
The nuthatch in the video below might have been the inspiration for any one of a variety of inventions. Coming immediately to mind is the mortar and pestle which I use to grind foods ranging from seeds to garlic. The nuthatch, unable to reach a seed held between its toes as a chickadee can, must find a way to split the seed without scattering the pieces. This resourceful bird uses the mortar and pestle method, a method I suspect is far older than humans. And since we likely capitalized on the invention of their ancestors, it is the least I can do to offer a lifetime’s supply of sunflower seed as payment.