"Pet parrots that are allowed to make video calls to other birds show signs of
feeling less isolated, according to scientists.
The study, which involved giving the birds a tablet that they could use to make
video calls, found that they began to engage in more social behaviour including
preening, singing and play. The birds were given a choice of which “friend” to
call on a touchscreen tablet and the study revealed that the parrots that
called other birds most often were the most popular choices.
Dr Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, of the University of Glasgow and a co-author of the
research, said that video calls had helped many people feel less isolated in
the pandemic. She added: “There are 20 million parrots living in people’s homes
in the USA, and we wanted to explore whether those birds might benefit from
video calling too. If we gave them the opportunity to call other parrots, would
they choose to do so, and would the experience benefit the parrots and their
Their analysis, based on more than 1,000 hours of footage of 18 pet parrots,
suggested that there were, indeed, benefits for the birds. In the wild, many
species of parrots live in large flocks, but as pets tend to be kept alone or
in a small group. Isolation and boredom can cause birds to develop
psychological problems, which can manifest as rocking, pacing back and forth,
or self-harming behaviours such as feather-plucking.
Video calling could reproduce some of the social benefits of living in a flock,
according to Dr Rébecca Kleinberger, of Northeastern University and first
author of the study."
Via Khurram Wadee and 7B'JaJaDa.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics