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It Takes Two to Boogie: A New Study with Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo

September 6, 2010

Wired magazine just covered a new study that lends us new insights into why and how Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo shakes his tail feathers.

Previous studies with Snowball showed that some animals (including some parrots) “move rhythmically to music in a way that other animals don’t, demonstrating that dancing is not uniquely human” and that they definitely follow the beat. (Researchers have taken songs and sped them up and slowed them down, to see if Snowball just keeps a specific rhythm, and he always adjusted his dancing to match the beat.)

In this new study, the research showed that Snowball danced more often and with more enthusiasm if his owner Irena Schulz was also dancing (versus her not being in the room or her being in the room but not dancing).

That doesn’t really surprise me. I’m also much more likely to dance when others are dancing also. 😉 In other words, it shouldn’t surprise us that there’s some sort of social element to getting one’s groove on.


Snowball at the World Science Festival in 2009

My favorite part of the Wired article explained what happened if they had Schulz dance to a different beat than what Snowball was hearing:

“When Schultz danced to the wrong beat, Snowball appeared confused. Eventually he turned around and ignored Schultz, dancing to his own music until close to the end of the song. When he turned to face her again, his leg-lifts were less high and his head bobs less sure. ‘He’s less enthusiastic, more tentative,’ Patel said.”

Read More from Wired: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/08/dancing-parrot/#ixzz0ymPB0ECT

Read my interview with Irena Schulz about Snowball’s rise to fame: https://bestinflock.wordpress.com/2009/09/20/the-story-of-snowballs-rise-to-viral-fame/

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4 comments

  1. He just looks like he’s have a ball!!


  2. He makes me want to dance too..lol Irena has done such a wonderful with him.


  3. That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing!


  4. That bird is too cool! Way to go, Snowball.



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