Today we talk about one of the great technological and social breakthroughs of our time: scientists have figured out how parrots can do video calls with each other.

Just look at the amazing name of the study out of Northeastern University: “Birds of a Feather Video-Flock Together: Design and Evaluation of an Agency-Based Parrot-to-Parrot Video-Calling System for Interspecies Ethical Enrichment.”

Polly, what was it you wanted? I think you were on mute.

We know that parrots are really smart, and we know that they’re really social.

But there are huge numbers of pet birds who live only with humans, no other parrots around.

In the wild, they live in flocks, but for bird owners that isn’t often feasible, so the scientists thought, how could we help these birds hang out with other birds when they can’t physically get together?

And they remembered what humans have been doing so much over the last three years when we couldn’t physically get together.

They designed a system for 18 parrots that was sort of like that old platform ChatRoulette.

The parrots could see pictures of other birds, and the scientists trained them to hit a bell when they saw one with whom they wanted to talk.

They could make up to two five-minute calls during a three-hour period.

And to use a scientific term, they freaking LOVED it.

They would make some of the same call-and-response sounds that parrots do in flocks.

Certain birds would pair off and make repeat calls to each other.

Some even learned how to make new sounds or even new skills from their Zoom friends.

The most hilarious part is that if a parrot saw their call partner duck off screen for a moment, they would call back “hello! come here!” until they reappeared.

The overwhelming conclusion was that this was a way to improve the quality of life for these parrots.

Now maybe all of this makes you think, well, maybe these birds shouldn’t be pets at all, since they’re so much happier with other parrots.

At the very least, the scientists say this is a useful tool for birds who are sick or at risk of getting sick to the point that they can’t physically be with other birds.

Because even a parrot might get lonesome waiting for another parrot to say, hello in there.

Today in the southern Illinois community of West Frankfort, it’s day two of the Old King Coal Festival.

Note the spelling of the word “coal”; the event marks the history of coal miners in the area.

Each year they crown a miner or a retired miner as Old King Coal, which I bet doesn’t hurt when you’re trying to get a table at a local restaurant.

Parrots Taught to Video Call Each Other Show Increased Happiness According to New Study (My Modern Met)

2023 Old King Coal Festival (Enjoy Illinois)

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Screenshot via Northeastern University