Parrots ‘make Internet friends’ after being taught to call on Facebook Messenger

Parrots absolutely love video calling each other and have even made Internet friends, according to a new study.

A group of scientists at Northeastern University in the US taught a gang of 18 parrots how to video call each using Facebook Messenger over the course of three months.

Apparently, the birds enjoyed it so much that they willingly called up their friends and spoke to them for as long as possible.

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One pair of birds, a cockatoo called Ellie and an African grey called Cookie, even stayed in touch with each other for months on end despite living thousands of miles away. "It's been over a year and they still talk," said Ellie's owner Jennifer Cunha.

All the volunteer parrot owners said that the birds reacted positively to the video calls, learning new skills and sounds from each other and even flying tricks.

One bird owner said: "She came alive during the calls."

There were even some interesting human-like social dynamics among the parrots. The most popular parrots were those that started the most video calls with their friends.

Teaching the birds how to use video call was relatively simple. Their caretakers first taught their feathery friends to ring a bell

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After that, the parrots were taught to use a tablet and then left to their own devices. The parrots used their beaks to tap the screens and call other birds for up to five minutes.

Apparently two sick, elderly macaws even formed a 'deep bond' and would dance and sing to each other eagerly over the video calls.

One researcher, Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas said: "It really speaks to how cognitively complex these birds are and how much ability they have to express themselves. It was really beautiful, those two birds, for me."


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