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Fun Facts about Birds From A Las Vegas, NV Veterinarian
March 1, 2024

Did you know that the fourth most popular pet in America is the bird? Dogs and cats of course are first and second, with fish coming in third. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are more than 7.5 million pet birds in the United States. Continue reading to learn more about Man’s Fourth Best Friend from a local Las Vegas, NV veterinarian.

Don’t Pigeonhole Them

Pigeons are often regarded as a nuisance these days. However, these lovely birds are pretty exceptional. Not only can they find their way home from great distances, but they also have a number of other astonishing abilities.

  • They have excellent vision. They can even see ultraviolet light, which has helped them locate survivors from wrecked or drowned ships.
  • Pigeon racing is still a thing. These birds are swift enough to make races enjoyable for spectators.
  • Baby pigeons can stay in their nest for up to six weeks, much longer than other birds.
  • They may have been the first birds that humans domesticated. They appear in Mesopotamian art from 4500 BCE.
  • They were incredibly useful during wars. Pigeons were frequently utilized to send messages back and forth. Those communications are thought to have saved thousands of lives.
  • They were used to carry SOS signals from sinking ships, and were also good at finding survivors in the water.
  • Pigeons thrive in cities, likely because they prefer concrete and stone.
  • There may be over a million pigeons in New York City alone.

They Range Drastically In Size

You may already know that the hummingbird is the tiniest bird. These small, adorable little fellas can fly backwards and even hover in place. Their eggs are also quite tiny: they are just about the size of a jellybean.

On the other end of the scale, we have the Kakapo parrot of New Zealand, a bright bird with a sweet, slightly bewildered expression. These pretty birds can weigh upwards of seven pounds. Like many other of New Zealand’s native birds, The Kakapo cannot fly. This made them extremely vulnerable to habitat loss and other hazards, such as predators. Though they were once abundant in New Zealand, the flightless birds were decimated by cats, weasels, and other animals that were introduced by merchants. The Kakapo was formerly considered endangered, but appears to be on the verge of a recovery. Fingers crossed!

As to the biggest bird? As you may have guessed, that would be the ostrich. With a weight of about 220–350 pounds (100–160 kg), ostriches can reach a height of up to 9 feet (2.7 meters).

Many Bird People Really Love Their Pets

To be fair, all of our animal pals have devoted followers. Bird owners, however, are known for their unwavering devotion to their pets.

  • One in every five bird owners reported that their creatures were on a special diet. In comparison, barely one-tenth of companion dogs and cats are. Bird owners were also more inclined to feed their pets vitamins.
  • Most families with birds have an average of 2.46 birds.
  • Nearly 60% of bird owners said they had spent more money on Polly in the last year.

Song Of The Sky

Have you ever witnessed a flock of swallows moving in unison, twisting and swirling as if in a dance? This is known as a murmuration. Scientists believe that birds do this to confuse predators, making it difficult for them to identify any specific birds. Even more astonishing? Birds may be responding to biological radio waves, which may be what causes them to form patterns. Each bird interacts with the birds nearest them. Those ‘signals’ reach the entire flock, allowing the birds to move together.

A Colorful Pet

While all birds are remarkable in their own way, parrots are particularly fascinating. For thousands of years, these charming birds have held a special place in our hearts and shoulders. In fact, Alexander the Great brought some back from the Indian subcontinent. A few hundred years later, the ancient Romans began teaching Polly Latin.

Here are some facts about these lovely, colorful birds:

  • They are zygodactylous. Most birds, including parrots, have four toes per foot. Parrots’ feet are a little different: they have two forward-pointing toes and two backward-pointing ones. This makes it easier for them to carry food.
  • They’re highly intelligent. One parrot, an African grey named Alex, was said to have an IQ comparable to that of a 5-year-old child! His final words to his owner were, “You be good. I love you.”
  • Almost one-third of all parrot species are in danger of extinction.
  • Logging has devastated up to 99 percent of Ghana’s native population of African grey parrots.
  • Researchers from Northeastern University, the University of Glasgow, and MIT conducted an experiment in which they trained parrots to communicate via video chat. Most of the birds seemed to appreciate the event!
  • Some parrots utilize tools. The University of York and the University of St. Andrews conducted studies on Greater Vasa parrots that used pit dates and pebbles to break up cockleshells.
  • Their beaks can crack the hardest nuts in the world.
  • Parrots represent the psittacine order. 
  • They are also known as hookbills because they have curved beaks. 
  • They speak! Some of the birds that can talk include the African Grey, Budgerigar, Amazon Parrot, Indian Ringneck Parakeet, Quaker Parrot, and Eclectus.
  • The tiniest parrot is the little Pygmy parrot. The Pygmy parrot is only 3 inches long and, unlike other parrots, eats mushrooms rather than insects.They can live longer than humans. Smaller parrots, such as parakeets, may only survive ten to twenty years, whereas larger ones, such as Macaws, might live for 100 years or longer. This is absolutely something to think about before adopting one.

Birds Of A Feather

While we specialize in domestic birds, we are also fascinated by wild birds. Corvids are really fascinating. These guys may be among the world’s brightest animals! They mate for life and perform funerals for their deceased. They’ve also been known to decide that specific people are either their pals or adversaries … and then inform all of their friends!

Paint By Numbers

Here’s something you probably didn’t know. Blue jays have a tendency to collect paint chips. They favor softer tones. This is not a random behavior; they are drawn by the calcium in the paint. Paint frequently contains limestone, which is an excellent source of calcium.

Their Volume Knob Goes Up To 15

Ever wondered what the world’s largest bird is? That would be a white bellbird. This beautiful bird lives in the Amazon rainforest and attracts mates by, well, sounding like a feathered fire alarm. However, many pet birds are quite loud. For example, the Moluccan Cockatoo can reach 135 decibels. That’s comparable to an ordinary rock concert. 

Feathered Friends

Birds are the only animals with feathers. However, not every bird has feathers on its head. Vultures, ostriches, and marabou storks are all bald.

Polly Loves To Boogie

Have you ever seen recordings of pet birds cheerfully dancing to their favorite songs? Some of our feathered buddies really enjoy boogieing down! Cockatoos, for example, are known for getting their groove on. 

Do you have any queries concerning bird care? Contact us, your local Las Vegas, NV pet hospital, at any time!