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Video-Calling Tech Could Help Lonely Parrots Flock Together

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A parrot during a video call.

Parrots who made the most calls also received more calls, suggesting the study helped the birds become more social.

Credit: University of Glascow News

Scientists at Northeastern University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the U.K.'s University of Glasgow led research to help pet parrots communicate with each other through video calls.

The researchers enlisted caretakers who used the Parrot Kindergarten online coaching and educational program; they taught their parrots to ring a bell, then touch a photo of another bird on the screen of a tablet to video-call that bird.

A total 212 introductory calls lasted no more than five minutes each, and were terminated by caretakers as soon as their bird's attention drifted.

Researchers saw 147 deliberate caretaker-assisted calls between birds during the subsequent two-month "open call" sessions.

Northeastern's Jennifer Cunha said, "The parrots seemed to grasp that they were truly engaging with other birds onscreen, and their behavior often mirrored what we would expect from real-life interactions between these types of birds."

From University of Glasgow (U.K.)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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