The specific kind of brain they have doesn’t really matter – corvids and primates share some of the same basic capabilities in terms of problem-solving and plasticity, or being able to adapt and change in the face of new information and experiences.
Some birds, like the New Caledonian crows he studies – can do remarkable things.
In a paper published earlier this year, he and his co-authors described how New Caledonians seek out a specific type of plant stem from which to make their hooked tools.
And New Caledonians are far from the only non-human species to have evolved the ability to use tools.
In this clip from the BBC TV series, Inside the Animal Mind, Chris Packham watches a New Caledonian, nicknamed 007, solve an artificially constructed puzzle involving eight distinct steps.
McCoy, like Rutz, also studies New Caledonian crows.
New Caledonian crows, like us and other clever animals, have moods and memories.