Birds are very colorful and fun companions. They are unique among our animal friends in being able to talk. Polly has been entertaining us for centuries with her cheery (and sometimes cheeky) vocalizations. However, our feathered friends are now embracing the age of the internet. The latest fad among our feathered friends? Video-calling each other. A Las Vegas, NV vet offers some information on this below.
Researchers from Northeastern University, the University of Glasgow, and MIT conducted an experiment, which was done in conjunction with Parrot Kindergarten. The objective? Teaching parrots to video chat with each other. The results? Very happy birds. This really isn’t a surprise: wild parrots tend to live in flocks, and are constantly interacting with one another. Many pet parrots, however, are often the only bird in a household. Polly may get bored, restless, and unhappy without any buddies to interact with.
The study began with owners teaching their pets to ring a bell, and then touch a screen with a picture of another parrot to call that bird. Over two hundred birds became long distance internet buddies. The calls didn’t last very long, but the response was pretty positive. In the next phase, the birds were allowed to call each other whenever they wanted. They made over 147 calls! This is where things got really adorable. The birds often sang to each other, or ‘performed’ in ways such as hanging upside down. Some showed off their toys and a few even seemed to bond with their friends’ humans.
So, does this mean you should get your parrot an online buddy? Not necessarily. While the experiment for the most part went very well, there is a chance that the experience could turn out negative. Researchers were very careful to end the calls at the slightest sign that a bird was uneasy. That doesn’t mean you can’t try, but you will need to be cautious. Start by chatting with a friend who has a bird, and see what the birds do. In-person parrot play dates aren’t a great bet, because parrots are highly susceptible to a contagious disease, avian ganglioneuritis. Adopting a second bird is of course ideal, but that’s not a decision to take lightly.
Do you have questions about bird care? Contact us, your Las Vegas, NV animal hospital, anytime!