...By Roland Peterson for TDPel Media.
Parrots Enjoy Video Calling Each Other, Study Shows
A new study conducted by a group of scientists at Northeastern University in the US has found that parrots love video calling each other and have even made internet friends.
The scientists taught 18 parrots how to use Facebook Messenger for video calling over a period of three months. The birds enjoyed it so much that they made calls to their friends willingly and spoke to them for as long as possible.
One pair of parrots, Ellie, a cockatoo, and Cookie, an African grey, stayed in touch with each other for months despite living thousands of miles away. According to Ellie’s owner, Jennifer Cunha, they still talk to each other after a year.
Positive Reactions from Parrots to Video Calls
All volunteer parrot owners have reported that their birds reacted positively to the video calls. They said that their pets learned new skills and sounds from each other and even performed flying tricks.
One of the owners commented that “She came alive during the calls”. The birds also showed human-like social dynamics where the most popular parrots were those who initiated the most video calls with their friends.
Teaching Parrots How to Use Video Calls
Teaching the birds to use video calls was a relatively simple process. The caretakers first taught their birds to ring a bell. Then, they taught the parrots to use a tablet, and left them to use it on their own.
The parrots used their beaks to tap the screens and call other birds for up to five minutes.
Deep Bonds Formed by Parrots Over Video Calls
The researchers also observed interesting behavior among the parrots. Two sick, elderly macaws even formed a “deep bond” and would dance and sing to each other eagerly over the video calls.
One of the researchers, Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, said, “It really speaks to how cognitively complex these birds are and how much ability they have to express themselves. It was really beautiful, those two birds, for me.”
The study shows that parrots are social animals that can form deep bonds with each other, even if they are miles apart. The birds also have the cognitive ability to learn new skills, initiate video calls, and express themselves over video calls.
The researchers hope that this study will lead to more research on the cognitive abilities of parrots and how they communicate with each other. This study also highlights the importance of providing enrichment activities for pet parrots to enhance their quality of life.