By Jill Dando News
Pet parrots have been forming friendships through technology.
It’s true that these feathered wonders are smart and social.
Now scientists have studied 18 of the pet birds to see whether they could use technology to forge relationships.
The parrots were taught to ring a bell if they wanted to request a video call. They then could look at a tablet with photos of other study participants to choose who to chat with.
The owners were told to keep the calls short and end them if their parrot became distressed. “The notion of choice was very important,” researcher Rebecca Kleinberger told The New York Times.
The parrots learned the bell system fast, and were regularly asking for calls.
The owners reported they enjoyed connecting with their new friends and were highly engaged, looking intently at the screens, mirroring behavior, and singing.
There are risks with too much screen time for parrots, but also social benefits — the birds, researcher Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas told the Times, use this technology “in very individual and very beautiful ways.”
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