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Did you know that pet parrots can now video call their friends? According to a new study by researchers from Northeastern University, the University of Glasgow, and MIT, parrots can benefit from virtual connections with their peers. The study showed that if given the choice, birds would call each other, and participating bird owners reported a number of positive experiences for their tech-savvy pets.
Source: USA TODAY/Youtube
Parrots are social species that tend to live in large flocks. They were chosen by researchers for their intelligence and cognitive capabilities, which are equal to that of an early-elementary-aged child. The study observed that virtual interactions could help with domesticated parrots’ behavior, improved communication in the wild, and their well-being.
Pet birds that feel isolated may develop psychological issues, which could manifest into a rocking, excessive pacing, and plucking out their feathers as a form of self-harm. In the study, parrots were trained to use their beaks to tap on a tablet screen, ring a bell, and then touch an image of another pet parrot to call. Participants made 212 video calls over two weeks, and some parrots even formed attachments to another bird’s humans after video calls.
In the second phase of the experiment, the remaining participants were able to freely choose which birds they had interactions with. They made 147 video calls over a three-month period, which provided key evidence supporting the researchers’ theory. The parrots who received the most calls were also the ones who initiated the most, suggesting a reciprocal dynamic similar to human socialization.
If you’re a pet parrot owner, this study offers a unique opportunity for your bird to develop its cognitive skills and enhance its well-being. Encourage your bird to engage in video calls with its peers to help it learn new skills, including foraging, new vocalizations, and flying. These virtual interactions could provide a great source of entertainment and stimulation for your pet, and it may help alleviate feelings of isolation.
This study shows that virtual connections are not just for humans but also for our feathered friends. As pet owners, we have a responsibility to ensure that our pets are happy and healthy. So, let’s take advantage of the technology available to us and give our parrots the chance to connect with their friends virtually.
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