USA – SCIENCE
Parrots are known to be highly intelligent and love to learn. This led a group of scientists at Northeastern University in Boston to see if these birds could communicate via video conferencing.
They found that parrots are not only capable of making phone calls, but also become happier with virtual communication with other feathered creatures. The findings of the study are described in an article published on the university’s website.
In the experiment, the parrots communicated with each other using a tablet. First, the birds developed the reflex that if they rang a pendant bell, a screen with pictures of other feathered friends participating in the experiment would appear in front of them. Then, by touching the picture on the screen with their beak, the parrot could choose which of the people to talk to on the phone. Eighteen parrots and their owners took part in the experiment.
They sing and fall asleep together
Researchers noticed that once the parrots caught the connection between the ringing of the bell and the video call, they were happy to participate in the conference call. During the conversation itself, they could be seen to enjoy it. For example, they imitated the behaviour of another parrot they saw on the screen, singing together or brushing their feathers together.
Some even fell asleep together. Others would occasionally fly away from the tablet to pick up an item, then return and show it to their friend. The parrots were also quick to find favourites among the other participants in the experiment and demanded to speak to them specifically on the phone.
In fact, parrots kept as pets, unlike birds living in natural flocks, often lack communication, which can manifest itself in swaying back and forth on their perches, walking side to side or even plucking feathers.
After analysing around 1,000 hours of video footage, the researchers concluded that the positive effects of video calls on parrots are clear, and that virtual interaction has the potential to be an alternative to live.