Avian Expert Articles

Matt Rowe

Matt Rowe is a writer who frequently covers various areas of interests. And while he is a lover of the arts, he is equally enamored of animals, especially birds in all of their various species. His love of pets and wildlife, and the many ways they interact with humans reveals his deep fascination for them.

Matt writes for various publications that include MusicTAP, The Morton Report, and The Pontiac Daily Leader.

Articles by Matt:

kea parrot on ground

Can Kea Parrots Pass a Virtual Reality Test?

See how six computer-savvy kea parrots fared when challenged with a series of tasks that were either entirely physical, entirely virtual, or a mixture of both.

cockatoo

Crafty Cockatoos Make Their Own Utensils

Researchers at the Tanimbar Goffin Lab, located in Indonesia, noticed that some wild cockatoos were able to extract seeds from fruit found on the ground. When they brought the fruit back to their lab for their captive cockatoos, they observed the birds making their own tools to access and eat the fruits’ best parts. Learn how these smart ‘toos created their own three-part utensil set.

Kea parrot

Kea Parrot With a Broken Beak Finds Ingenious Way to Preen

A partially beak-less Kea parrot in New Zealand, affectionately referred to as Bruce, appears to know the importance of self-care. Ground-breaking scientific observation has shown that this special alpine parrot has taught himself to use tools, namely pebbles, for grooming.

scarlet macaw in flight in blue sky

The Macaw Society’s “Foster Program” is Just One Way it Helps Macaws in the Wild

Since 1999, The Macaw Society (formally called the Tambopata Research Project) at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences has been dedicated to the study of macaws in the wild, with 40 scientific papers and counting. The Macaw Society’s “foster chick” program is one way it helps increase wild macaw numbers by assigning otherwise neglected chicks to foster macaw parents.

Lego Kakapo Parrot

The Kakapo Parrot Gets A Lego Likeness!

A new Lego build kit gives bird lovers the opportunity to create their own Kākāpō parrot. A Lego designer and passionate supporter of the threatened Kākāpō parrot and wanted to create awareness by offering the special build.

two sulfur-crested cockatoos opening lid of trash can at curb

Wild Cockatoos Teach Each Other The Art Of Bin Scavenging

Recent research in Australia shows that trash cans are more like large foraging toys to sulphur-crested cockatoos. When Richard Major of the Australian Museum happened up a cockatoo using its feet and beak to ply open a garbage can, he sent a video of the ‘toos’ feat to fellow scientists, which sparked an in-depth study to determine if genetics is the engine of this behavior, or if it is a learned process. The results were even more surprising than anyone could have imagined.

scarlet macaw on perch by cake with 14 on top

Old Man: A Scarlet Macaw Turns 74

This parrot deserves a party! A scarlet macaw, aptly referred to as Old Man, recently celebrated his 74th birthday!

extreme close up view of a vulture feather

Photographer Focuses On The Beauty Of Feathers

In his “featherscape” series, photographer James Henderson offers a unique close-up of feathers as he finds perfection in the imperfect parts of a feather.

Virginia Rose, Founder of Birdability

Birdability Strives To Make Birding Accessible To All

Learn how retired teacher Virginia Rose discovered her passion for birding and her life-changing event that fueled her mission to make birding accessible to all, no matter what mobility challenges they may face.

kea parrot, alpine parrot

Keas: Why These Alpine Parrots Took the Mountains

Once upon a time, kea parrots lived among humans in lower altitudes. However, they ultimately settled in New Zealand’s mountainous habitat, namely because it was an area least disturbed by human activity. Discover how researchers recently came to this conclusion.

red-tailed hawk baby in nest

Up Close: Hawk Family Builds Nest on Photographer’s Balcony

What happens when a red-tailed hawk family builds a nest on a New York City photographer’s balcony? We get an up-close look at birds’ incredible ability to persevere in urban environments.

screenshot of a bird from the app Find My Birds

Teen Turns Love of Birds Into a Game

Adam Dhalla, from Vancouver, B.C., isn’t your typical video-gaming teen. He’s a passionate birder who wants to introduce birding to his peers. He did just that by creating a mobile gaming app available for download on smartphones that gives players the opportunity to virtually traverse the globe in search of birds and learn more about them.

blue and gold macaw flying

Juliet the Wild Blue & Gold Macaw Looks for Love in Rio Zoo’s Aviary

Rio’s last wild macaw, affectionately named Juliet, is looking for love by visiting the zoo’s aviary.

Penelope The Powerful Parrot book cover

“Penelope The Powerful Parrot” Aims to Help Families Cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic

Brett Peppe is the author and Licensed Professional Counselor behind the well-received children’s book, “Penelope the Powerful Parrot.” The book is designed to help those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and other potential traumas.

two sparrows face each other on a branch outside

Cities Building Bird-Friendly Communities

To combat declining wild bird populations, some cities are making their landscapes more bird-friendly.

black chicken

A Rare Bird—the All-Black Chicken

Meet the Ayem Cemani, an all-black chicken native to Indonesia’s island of Java. See why this rare bird is considered by many to be the most magnificent breed of chicken in the world.

albatross sitting on chick in nest

World’s Oldest Wild Bird Raising Chicks at Age 70!

Wisdom the Laysan albatross is unique in more ways than one. She is the oldest known wild bird, having been banded by biologists in 1956. What makes her even more remarkable is that she has recently hatched and is rearing another chick!

damaged beak on a parrot that's lying down

Prosthetic Beak Saves Injured Wild Parrot

An injured beak can severely impact a parrot’s health—a missing beak can put a parrot in peril. Fortunately, this wild parrot got a second chance at life with the help of Paulo Roberto Martins Nunziata and veterinarian Maria Ângela Panelli Marchió of the Renascer ACN animal rehabilitation center in Brazil.

rainbow lorikeet (pied mutation) on ground

Spotting a Rare Beauty: Pied Mutation Rainbow Lorikeet

If you live in Australia, it’s not unusual to spot native parrot species foraging in your yard. New South Wales resident Jayde Parrey, for one, is used to seeing rainbow lorikeets, but one member of a recent flock of 20 parrots certainly stood out for it was an unusually colored rainbow lorikeet. Learn more about this special lorikeet.

snowy owl on perch

Rare Snowy Owl Lands in Central Park NYC

Central Park in New York City recently saw the return a fluffy white visitor after a 130-year hiatus—a majestical snowy owl! On January 27, a popular birder tweeted the arrival of a snowy owl hunkering down behind a fenced area near the park’s baseball fields. Soon after, local birders flocked to the park for the sighting of a lifetime. Read on to learn more about the snowy owl and how this owl’s brief New York City appearance made headlines.

wild bird perched on branch during snow

“Twitching” is Bird Watching at Its Extreme

There’s birding, and then there’s an extreme form of birding referred to as “twitching,” where enthusiasts are willing to brave the elements, the costs and other obstacles to catch a glimpse of a rare bird in the wild. Learn the story behind the “twitchers” name and the lengths they are willing to go to see a feathered beauty in nature.

Starling Murmuration

Starling Murmurations: A Sight to Behold

A starling murmuration is a sight to behold. Those lucky to stumble upon a murmuration are witness to an aerial ballet of thousands of birds moving in unison, individual birds blending into a moving mass that appears to morph into different shapes.

robin wild bird

New Study Shows Birds Bring Happiness

A new study affirms what many of us bird enthusiasts already sense—wild birds give us an emotional boost. Seeing and hearing the variety of birds in our neighborhoods can make us happier, especially when we choose to engage with them by offering food and creating a safe and inviting habitat to visit.

Andrea Garcia holds up book as Amazons on perches watch

Parrots Help Bring Stories to Life

Andrea Garcia, a library aide in the Los Angeles area, has found parrots to be the perfect assistants when it comes to story time. Garcia hosts up to 32 Zoom virtual reading sessions a week for elementary school children.

saw-whet owl wrapped in hat

Rocky the “Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Owl” Goes Home

The tiny Saw-whet owl rescued from the 75-foot-tall Norway spruce tree that was brought from upstate New York to Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center takes flight after being treated at a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

budgie, parakeet head

Artist Leila Jeffreys Captivates with Stunning Bird Portraits

Leila Jeffreys is an artist from Australia who uses the tools of photography to create incredible portraitures of birds of all kinds The result is large prints that reveal immaculate details of the bird subject she is working with

Thick-billed parrot in tree

Arizona Aims to Bring Back its Native Thick-Billed Parrot

The thick-billed parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha) is the only surviving parrot species native to North America. This special parrot once thrived in its Arizona mountain habitat and was last seen in the wild there in 1938. It has since settled in Mexico, but a team of wildlife researchers in Arizona are working with counterparts in northern Mexico to reintroduce the bird to the state’s wild.

African grey parrot on man's shoulder

Artist & His African Grey Parrot Pair Up To Sculpt One-Of-Kind Pieces

A parrot’s penchant for chewing things up is nothing new. Think of all the cardboard and/or wood items your bird has destroyed throughout your time together! What is new is a famed artist turning a parrot’s “masterpiece of destruction” into museum-quality sculptures. Joseph Havel, whose works have been exhibited in prestigious galleries around the world, looked no further than his African grey companion, Hannah, to create a collection of pieces that are now on display at a gallery in Houston. Learn how this collaborative effort between an artist and parrot came to be.

Iggy Pop's cockatoo posed in room that has couch, window, and guitar in behind the parrot

Iconic Musician & Cockatoo Put Their Fame To Good Use

Biggy Pop is not your average cockatoo. This ‘too’s companion is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Iggy Pop, frontman for the influential punk band The Stooges. A fan of both Iggy Pop the rocker and Biggy Pop the bird recently reached out to the duo to see if they’d help bring awareness to Australia’s plight in the aftermath of devastating fires that wiped out an estimated three billion animals, including 180 million birds.

crane

The Impact of Light Pollution on Birds

The effects of light pollution—being exposed to artificial light at night—is shown to disrupt our circadian rhythms and potentially wreak havoc on our sleep-wake cycles. Artificial light also affects wildlife in ways many of us might never have imagined. See how city lights can interfere with the lives of wild birds’ and even affect their migratory patterns.

kakapo parrot

Sirocco The Kakapo Parrot Is Back In The Spotlight

Sirocco, the personable and friendly kakapo parrot, is back in the spotlight. New Zealand’s national treasure and face of conservation is social media star, with 235,000 followers and counting.

Indian ringnecks outside window

Mumbai Musician’s Unexpected Biggest Fans — Wild Parrots

Mumbai-based musician Jatin Talukdar had two unexpected admirers when he began to play guitar and whistle out his window — two wild parrots.

kea parrot on ground

Kea Parrots Excel At Statistics

A new study on kea parrots, New Zealand’s native alpine parrot species, shows just how smart these famously intelligent birds are. With favored treats at stake, keas demonstrated a keen ability to act on their sense of probability to get treats. They even outperformed primates on some tasks. See how the parrots’ grasp of statistics fared when researchers put them to the test.

grey-breasted parakeet; Pyrrhura parrot

Grey-Breasted Parakeets Winning Fight For Survival

An ambitious conservation project to help save the grey-breasted parakeet saw its first success with the hatching of three nestlings in 2010, which has now led to 130 hatchings per year! See what the secret to their success has been and where this colorful parakeet might be headed in terms of its population status in the wild.

Carolina wren

Become A Backyard Birder

An increasing number of people have taken up birding as a way to feel connected with the world around us and expand their knowledge of nature. Now is the perfect time to become a birder. Many top bird-centric organizations are making it easier than ever for families to learn birding basics.

green-rumped parrotlet pair

Study Suggests Parrots Name Their Chicks

We give our babies names, but do parrots also “name” their young by using distinct chirps specific to an individual chick? One scientist decided to listen more closely to what might really be going on when birds chatter. He constructed nests in Venezuela and recorded the peeps of green-rumped parrotlets. The results suggest that parrot parents give their chicks individual names.

conure

Parrot Yells “Fire!” To Save Family

Louie the parrot did a miraculous thing when a fire began to rage in his home; he screeched “Fire!” for the first time and alerted his household to a raging fire. Read more about Louie, his life-saving act, and his bittersweet ending.

head of cockatoo

Coughing Parrot?

Do parrots cough? Cough-like noises can indicate an underlying medical issue in our feathered companions. See how parrots’ coughs are different from ours, and when to call the vet.

black wild bird

Online Birding Game Lets You Compete With Other Birders

Similar to Fantasy Sports, the virtual North American Big Year is a game for birding enthusiasts. And you can compete without leaving your home!

brush fire

Can Australia’s Wildlife Bounce Back After Devastating Wildfires?

The Australian wildfires of 2019-2020 have been particularly brutal in their devastation. How have Australia’s birds fared, and what are the challenges to wildlife and habitat?

African grey

A Test To See If Parrots Are Willing To Help Each Other

Are parrots willing to help a fellow parrot even though there appears to be nothing in it for them? A team of behavioral scientists put blue-headed macaws and African grey parrots to the test. See which of the two species passes the parrot kindness test.

Eclectus and Indian-ringnecked

Family With Loss Turns Sadness Into A Thriving Sanctuary

The untimely death of a parrot was the inspiration behind the Prego Dalliance Sanctuary. Monika Sangar was a first-time parrot owner when her Eclectus died suddenly from a neurological disorder. Devasted, she vowed to help parrots in need, and the result is her small, non-profit parrot sanctuary in Los Angeles.

Carolina Parakeet

DNA Study Points to the Likely Cause of the Carolina Parakeet’s Demise

The Carolina parakeet was native to North America but, sadly, became extinct a century ago. Scientists recently sequenced the parrot’s genome obtained from a specimen that was originally collected by Catalan naturalist Marià Masferrer (1856-1923) to ascertain what likely led to the species’ abrupt disappearance.

pygmy parrot

Smallest of the Small: The Buff-Faced Pygmy Parrot

Did you know that there is a parrot smaller than a budgie and smaller than a parrotlet? In fact, it is almost as small as a hummingbird. Check out this profile of the buff-faced pygmy parrot, which measures in at a mere 3 inches long.

blue-and-gold macaw

What’s Stressing Out Your Bird?

Are changes in your household stressing out your bird? See what might cause a companion bird to be overstimulated and why you should be a super sleuth to get to the bottom of the issue.

head and shoulder of Kirtland's warbler

Kirtland’s Warbler Gets Some Habitat Help

Kirtland’s warbler population has seen its numbers increase with help of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Michigan Audubon Society. These, and other conservation agencies, have worked together to create a massive forest habitat and to keep the warblers’ native nemesis, the brown-headed cowbird, from destroying their nests.

rose-breasted cockatoo; galah cockatoo

Get To Know The Galah: The Pink ‘Too

What’s pink, smart, playful, and a common sight in many neighborhoods across Australia? If you said rose-breasted cockatoo, or galah cockatoo, you are correct! See how they live in the wild as well as their reputation as feathered companions.

sulphur-crested cockatoo and its X-ray

‘Too Tough: Cockatoo Survives 5 Shots From Air Rifle

A sulphur-crested cockatoo rescued in the wild in Australia beats the odds and survives five bullet wounds, including one to the head. Find out more about this tough ‘too, aptly nicknamed Mr. Cocky as a show of his resilience.

California condor

A Push To Save The California Condor

The California Condor, North America’s largest bird, might be small in numbers, but it has strong support in the conservation community. The Peregrine Fund has worked tirelessly since the early ’80s to increase the birds’ wild populations, which includes introducing the birds back into their native habitats.

Birds Of America exhibit at John James Audubon Center

John James Audubon Center Brings “Birds of America” To Life

The John James Audubon Center pays homage to the renowned artist and environmentalist, and, perhaps most famously, author of “The Birds of America.” See what’s inside this new, interactive museum and nature facility that celebrates Audubon’s arrival to the area more than 200 years ago.

face of hyacinth macaw

Bird Species At Risk In The Amazon Fires

The Brazilian Amazon is burning at a record pace, with scientists recording more than 76,000 fires in Brazil so far this year, and many other parts of South America are ablaze. Sadly, the fires are likely taking a massive toll on local wildlife, including many parrots. See what species are likely affected and how you can help.

artist drawing of extinct parrot Heracles inexpectatus

World’s Largest Known Parrot Dwarfs All Others

Here’s one parrot you probably couldn’t host on your shoulder, or your hand for that matter. Meet Heracles inexpectatus, the world’s largest species of parrot, recently discovered by palaeontologists in New Zealand. Standing at more than 3 feet tall, this prehistoric parrot has also earned the nickname Squawkzilla.

albino magpie

Albino Magpie At Home In Tasmania

Meet a unique albino magpie found out of the nest at the base of a tree, and now being cared for by Trowunna Wildlife Park in Tasmania. This little bird is unique not only in color but its fondness for people and its yellow-tailed black cockatoo friend.

cover of book Bringing Back The Birds

Photographer Travels The Globe To Capture “Birdscapes”

In the ’60s, a Chicago-based photographer by the name of Owen Deutsch worked in the fashion industry before retiring 20 years later in 1986 to pursue other successful endeavors. In 2002, Mr. Deutsch discovered birding as a hobby, and soon was deeply entrenched in the business of photographing birds, and other living things. From butterflies […]

macaw parrot on perch by painting it made

Parrots Who Paint!

Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City has its very own Picasso, but this one is of the feathered kind! Picasso is a 12-year-old blue-and-gold macaw with a fondness for creating her own paintings on canvas. See how this creative parrot discovered her passion for painting and how art has helped her, along with her fellow resident artist—a great green macaw known as DaVinci—blossom from a shy, withdrawn parrot to a popular crowd pleaser.

bald eagle in flight with red fox in talons

Winning Bird Photos

Since 2010, The National Audubon Society has held an annual Photography Awards, inviting aspiring and professional photographers to participate. Those who are patient might just capture a once-in-a-lifetime shot.

cockatoo on woman's shoulder

From “Problem Parrot” to TV Star

In 2006, Moluccan cockatoo Rocky was on the verge of being euthanized due to aggressive behavior. Fortunately, Lara Joseph, an animal behavior consultant, adopted this special ’too and worked patiently to teach him positive ways to communicate. Now Rocky stars in a series of Stanley Steemer commercials.

Nicobar Pigeon

The Resplendent Nicobar Pigeon

Its unique appearance, gentle demeanor, and typical fearlessness of humans makes the Nicobar Pigeon a unique and beautiful bird. Discover where this colorful bird is native, why its wild population is on the decline, and how zoos around the world are collaborating to keep the species alive.

Wingspan board game

A Game Perfect For Bird Enthusiasts

If you like board games and birds, then Wingspan is for you. The goal of this card-driven game is to discover and attract the best birds to your aviary.

macaw portrait

A Look at How Parrots Talk

How can some birds mimic human speech so effortlessly? Parrots’ gift of gab is especially impressive given the fact that birds do not have lips! See how birds produce pitch and sound to replicate our sounds, as well as sounds beyond our vocal reach.

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