Archive for the ‘Silly Bird Things’ Category

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Do Parrots in the Wild Have Names?

November 20, 2013

Do parrots in the wild have names? If so, how do they learn them (and how can we know this)?

Check out this great video explaining how a scientist named Karl Berg is studying green-rumped parrotlets and how they learn their “signature contact calls” (aka. “names”).

Hello, I’m Bob. Hey, Tom, do you want to go get some food over that way? I’m Bob.

Do your parrots know their names? Or, even better, do they know yours? As flock animals, parrots have a need to communicate, and providing a communication-rich environment could be very important form of enrichment, don’t you think?

 

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You know you’re a bird nerd when …

February 4, 2013

I’ve been watching the Netflix show “House of Cards” (great show, btw) and there’s an episode where the main character Frank Underwood visits a billionaire who happens to own a parrot. The parrot, you eventually see, is a sun conure. Which of course I point out to Stewie, who is sitting behind me. The screen has caught his interest because the sun conure is chirping away (cute little chirps, not Stewie-level squawking… because if the TV bird sounded like Stewie, everyone would just turn the show off. Seriously.)

In one scene, Underwood picks up an ornithology book, flips through it, looks at the caged bird and says “Carolina parakeet”. I kid you not, I turn around and say out loud to Stewie (with a tone dripping of condescension), “The Carolina Parakeet is extinct”, implying “duuuh”. As soon as that leaves my mouth, the billionaire says (voice dripping with condescension), “The Carolina Parakeet is extinct.”

Obviously I don’t expect everyone to be able to identify a sun conure after flipping through an ornithology book for 3 seconds — and it wouldn’t have been a terrible guess — but I’m sure that the very first thing a bird book would say about the Carolina Parakeet is that it is, sadly, an ex-parrot.

What do you think?  Do they look alike?

carolinaparakeet-v-sunconure

The attention to detail to that show is pretty impressive. House of Cards has nothing to do with parrots and I think the whole point of the bird in that episode (minor spoiler alert!) is only to set up a scene where Underwood is wrong about something, so there’s no real point to quibbling about the lack of enrichment activities in the parrot’s cage or that the kitchen might not be the best place for an animal with a very delicate respiratory system. I just thought it’d be fun to point out what I bird nerd I am. Aside from that, House of Cards is a really great show and you should go watch it.

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We almost forgot… Happy Pi Day*!

March 14, 2012

It’s National Pi Day: 3.14 (but only in the United States, where we list dates backwards).

This is a Pi squared.

Last year we listed 3.14 reasons why pi(onus) are awesome. Here is my list of why I love my Mika girl:

  1. She’s nuts! Yesterday I walked in the door listening to my iPod and she flipped out. She spent the next 30 minutes flying after and arguing with it, even after I had turned it off and tried to put it away.
  2. When I drape my hand over the edge of her playtop and she runs up and pushes her head into my fingers demanding scritches.
  3. She never bites me, even when I’m doing something to her that she clearly doesn’t like (which lately involves me trying to remove her, for the zillionth time that day, from the top of the fridge).
    3.14 — dat delicious pi smell!

* We’re wishing you a happy “Pi Day”. Every day is a “happy pi” day 🙂

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Tactile Enrichment

March 8, 2012

Tactile enrichment? I’ll show you how to do tactile enrichment …

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To Mika, all bits of paper are bird toys.

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Is This Crow Sledding?!

January 13, 2012

Sure looks like he’s sledding to me!

In any case, it’s clear that even wild animals like to do things that serve no other purpose than to have fun. Smart animals will come up with games for themselves even when it doesn’t serve any immediate needs like shelter, food or reproduction. Since most of us can’t really send our pet birds outside to play in the snow (“and don’t come back until I call you in for dinner, but stay out of the street!”), we should try to offer them as much opportunity for fun and games (e.g. “enrichment”) indoors as we can.

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Budgie Balancing Act

October 6, 2011

This is more than a simple mating dance; this budgie is showing off some impressive balancing moves as he “woos” his tennis ball.

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It’s National Pi Day

March 14, 2011

Here at Best in Flock, we like to celebrate National Pi Day with a very sweet pi(onus) topped with a bit of cinnamon:

Mika vs. The Cinnamon Stick

List your 3.14 Reasons Why Pis are awesome in the comments….