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These days, parrots have learned to make video calls to make friends with netizens-IT HOME



Author | Skin

Review | Ziv

Your phone rings and it shows a video call, so you click through to find out that it’s actually a parrot calling you.

This happened in real life, when a group of researchers at Northeastern University taught parrots to make video calls.

And that’s on purpose, because domesticated pet parrots without bird companions have been found to have worrisome mental health conditions because they’re so lonely. Maybe… a video call would make them less boring?

Like cats and dogs, clever parrots are a common pet.In the United States, there are more than 20 million pet parrots, and the captive parrots in the world have even reached half of the total.They have a strong learning ability, some have a vocabulary of 1000 words, some can play various puzzle games, and even dance…

Smart parrots learn a lot of skills. |Wiki

However, many people may forget that parrots originally lived in the wild in the tropics and subtropics. They are social animals and have many interactions with their bird partners, such as building nests together, singing together, or fighting for objects… That is to say,Parrots are birds that need a social lifebut today, a large number of parrots are kept as pets and live alone in cages.

A small cage may not be the ideal living scenario for a parrot. |Wiki

As early as 2003, a study reported abnormal behavior in caged parrots. The researchers found that caged parrots exhibited repetitive, invariant, and useless behaviors, such as repeated pacing, swaying in circles, aggressive behavior, and even self-mutilating behaviors such as plucking their own hair.The researchers believe these behaviors may indicate poor mental health in parrots in a solitary environment.

A bored parrot in a cage performed the exact same behavior six times in a row. |Reference 2

Therefore, in this recently published study, scientists have found a “video call” that is a low-cost method that can relieve parrots’ loneliness.

Studies in the last century have shown that birds will look at screens, some pigeons will recognize faces in photos, and clever parrots can even operate touch screens. Therefore, in this experiment, people recruited 18 parrots, equipped them with tablet computers or mobile phones that are more suitable for birds, and began to conduct “video call” training on them.

The training is divided into 2 stages, the first stage is to let the parrot learn to ring the bell, which will be used as a “video request”.When parrots ring their bells, their owners will know their pet parrot wants to make a phone call, and the bird Contacts for video calls will open. then,A parrot will pick a bird friend of its ownand then let the master dial the phone.

Smart Parrot Online Dialing|Reference 1

During the three-month experiment, the birds made a total of 147 video calls.A parrot talking on the phone with its friends is like talking on the phone with a human friend. 59% of parrot calls lasted more than 5 minutesand their behavior during the call was also recorded by the owners, which can be said to be full of tricks.

Your parrot friend address book 🈶️|Reference 1

A breeder said that TA’s parrot (code-named P2) was addicted to video calls, talking to its good friend P1, and inviting P1 to play with it. Even when P1 “drops” off the screen, P2 still wants to keep ringing the bell to call P1 back. There is also a high-cold parrot who seems to only like its friend P9, and is only willing to fly back when P9 appears on the screen.

It’s fun to call with your friends! |youtube

Seven birds even played the game remotely, one bird showed its toy to its mates, and others danced, flapped their wings, learned new sounds, and even sang together. One of the owners also said,In the company of its friends, the parrot learned something its owner hadn’t learned in a year.

Overall, the parrots who learned to communicate with their friends online became more active. Not only did they learn new foraging and flying skills from the videos, they also became less agitated and instead appeared calmer and more confident. The parrots were even happier when they were with their owners.

Parrots that make video calls can also be more active near their owners | Giphy

It seems that video calling really does seem to be a proven way to make domestic “empty nest” birds happier. In addition to this approach, many bird owners are actually creating a better environment for their pets through environmental enrichment, such as foraging games, various toys, or even solving puzzles or puzzles.Important social life is also required for domesticated animals.

Who wants to live only to sleep and eat|Giphy

During the epidemic, the unattended penguins in the zoo were too lonely, and the breeders arranged bubble machines for them. The San Diego Zoo has installed a sound interaction system for humans and birds. Orangutans at Zoo Atlanta played interactive games played by projectors. And dogs can really play games online! ! …… The light of technology also shines on animals.

Orangutans can play some tablet games|Reference 3


  • [1] Kleinberger, Rebecca, et al. “Birds of a Feather Video-Flock Together: Design and Evaluation of an Agency-Based Parrot-to-Parrot Video-Calling System for Interspecies Ethical Enrichment.” Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2023.

  • [2]Garner, Joseph P., Cheryl L. Meehan, and Joy A. Mench. “Stereotypies in caged parrots, schizophrenia and autism: evidence for a common mechanism.” Behavioral brain research 145.1-2 (2003): 125-134.

  • [3]

  • [4]Hirskyj-Douglas, Ilyena, and Andrés Lucero. “On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog… Unless You’re Another Dog.” Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2019.

  • [5]Kleinberger, Rébecca, et al. “Interspecies interactions mediated by technology: An avian case study at the zoo.” Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2020.

This article comes from the WeChat public account:Bring science home (ID: steamforkids)Author: all things

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