Video calls helped friends and families fight loneliness during the pandemic. Parrots normally live in flocks, so would video calls help them feel less lonely? That was the subject of an experiment by Dr. Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas of the University of Glasgow and her team. The researchers studied 18 pet parrots who were taught to use a tablet. They learned really quickly. The parrots would ring a bell when they wanted to make a call, and then select a bird to call from a menu of images. The birds made 147 calls during the study, and engaged in social behaviors while on calls. The researchers studied more than 1,000 hours of video of the interactions, and the bird’s owners filled out forms on each call. It turns out that the birds that made the most calls ended up being the most popular, and were chosen by other birds more often! Read about the study at The Guardian. You can also watch a video presentation of the research at YouTube (skip to 3:20 to watch the birds do it). -via Metafilter
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