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Companion Parrots May Be Less Lonely When They Phone Their Feathered Friends

Spreads for web Parrots 278 4

By GrrlScientist, Senior Contributor, evolutionary & behavioural ecologist, ornithologist & science writer

People love their pet parrots, but they often don’t realise that parrots are extremely intelligent, sensitive and highly social birds. Just as humans need to chat with a human friend, parrots need to chat with a parrot friend. When people get lonely, they call a friend on the phone, or they make a video call on their laptop. But what can parrots do to relieve their loneliness?

“Video-calling technology helped a lot of people through the early days of the COVID pandemic where self-isolation was vital to slowing the spread of the virus”, co-author, computer scientist Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, a lecturer in the School of Computing Science and a member of the Interactive SysTems (GIST) research section at the University of Glasgow, said in a statement. Dr Hirskyj-Douglas was one of the early founders of the field of Animal-Computer Interaction, and is an expert in pioneering new methods and constructing novel technologies for animals.

“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”, Dr Hirskyj-Douglas continued. In the wild, parrots usually live in large flocks, but in captivity, they often are isolated members in a human family, leaving them susceptible to loneliness.

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