Articles by Matt:
Coming Soon! LEGO® Parrot Build Kit
Parrot aficionados can thank a LEGO® builder enthusiast for submitting their prototype for consideration of a mass-produced kit that has come fruition and will be available for purchase starting March 1, 2023. The kit is called LEGO Creator 3in1 Exotic Parrot (although most of us would recognize it as a blue-and-gold macaw).
A Look Back at the Most Famous Pigeon of All
Thanks to their unique homing abilities, carrier pigeons were used during both the First and Second World Wars to transport messages back to their home coops behind the lines. Perhaps the most famous pigeon of all, Cher Ami, delivered a message that saved a large group of surrounded American infantrymen, referred to as “The Lost Battalion.”
Spotlight On the Ultra-Rare Araripe Manakin
The critically endangered Araripe Manakin was first discovered in 1996. This striking rare bird is native to a small area of Brazil, where it faces threats from agriculture and other land development.
Pet Bird Owner Reporting Fuels New Study on Vocal Learning in Parrots
A new study fueled by parrot owner responses shows that many companion parrots use words in context and can even build phrases off of their vocabularies. The study conducted using a database of 900 pet parrots’ vocal abilities based on their owners’ reporting.
Izzy the Cockatoo’s “I Love You” Melts Hearts
Izzy the 31-year-old umbrella cockatoo has gained fame via a TikTok video. Izzy’s simple “I love you” has garnered 270,000 views. After 30 years in a loving home, Izzy found her way into a Florida animal rescue and particularly into the heart of its founder, Gabby Nikolle. Read on to learn about Izzy’s transition, which includes a healthier diet.
Crows Are Even Smarter Than We Thought!
In the latest study to gauge Covid intelligence, crows outsmarted monkeys. Researchers discovered that crows are quite adept at the cognitive ability referred to as recursion—that is, they can distinguish paired elements within larger sequences, which was once thought to be a purely human trait.
Advances in Bird Tracking Takes Flight & Offers New Insights
Tracking migratory birds has advanced far beyond the days of visual sightings recorded by ornithologists and dedicated bird watchers with eyes to the skies. See how a collaborative network using a central radio telemetry system is helping scientists and researchers dial-in on migratory bird behaviors never recorded before. Plus, find out how birders of all ages can follow the heroic annual journeys made by 450-plus birds, and learn more about the challenges they face along the way.
Gang Gang Cockatoos Benefit From the Australian “Twitchathon” Race
The Twitchathon, an annual birding competition in Australia, recently brought together birders from birdwatching groups near and far for a friendly competition broken down into different divisions to see which teams could identify the most birds in the given time. This meant that dedicated birders were pushed to the brink in either 30-hour, 24-hour, or six-hour segments to identify as many birds as possible. The event also determines which endangered bird species will benenfit from funds raised. See why this year’s bird is the gang-gang cockatoo.
Saving Parrots From Hurricane Ian
Hurricane Ian leveled a bird sanctuary in Florida, but its dedicated owners, Will Paratino and his partner Lauren Stepp, find help—and the boats needed—to evacuate hundreds of parrots off their island home. See how Project Dynamo was hatched to get these parrots to safety, as well as news about the sanctuary’s rebuild.
For Parakeets, Smart Males Get the Females
What do birds look for in a mate? For female budgies, problem-solving ability appears to make males more attractive. From a revolutionary standpoint, it might serve birds well to opt for partners that show good foraging prowess. See the tricky way researchers got female budgies to ditch their preferred mates to those trained to solve puzzles.
The Man Who Sustained the Life of a Parakeet in an Egg
“I found a tiny budgie egg at a pet shop. If I could incubate it, would I be able to raise it? With these big human hands?” That’s the intriguing question posed at the beginning of the popular YouTube video titled “A Chick Called Albert.”
The Beauty of Birds: The 2022 Audubon Photography Awards Winners Revealed
The Audubon Photography Award Winners for 2022 were recently revealed, and the images are stunning. In total 2,400 images of birds from across the U.S. and Canada were submitted, with photographers vying for one of eight coveted prizes across five divisions.
Study Of Salmonella in Urbanized Birds Offers Insight & Hope
Fresno State biology professor Dr. Tricia Van Laar found direction for her next research project in her own backyard when she came across a sick finch that later died. She not only set out to find the cause but it led her and colleague Dr. Joel Slade to discover a trend that is endangering wildlife that also has ramifications for people as well.
Popular Wingspan Board Game To Offer Asia Expansion Set
In the card-driven board game Wingspan, players are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to their network of wildlife preserves. The newest offering from the creators of Wingspan is Asia Expansion, which includes the birds of Asia to increase the number of bird offerings available.
Study Shows That Baby Parrots Babble As Much As Human Babies
Parrots are already known for being among the best mimickers and vocal learners. Now a recent study sheds light on how parrot chicks incorporate a “practice makes perfect” routine early on in their development. Researchers in Venezuela tracked the vocalizations of wild, green-rumped parrotlet chicks (Forpus passerines) and found that the chicks would routinely babble while in the nest, similar to how babies babble before they begin to talk.
Disabled Parrot Finds His Footing With Help From Dedicated Med Student
Mumble, a blue Indian ring-necked parakeet, captured the hearts of over 2 million with a TikTok video documenting his first steps. Learn the back story of this special parrot who has overcome physical challenges since Day 1.
Rare Spix’s Macaws Reintroduced Back Into The Wild!
The last Spix’s macaw sighting in the wild was over 20 years ago. But, thanks to an exciting reintroduction program, this critically endangered parrot is once again flying free in its native habitat. Eight adult Spix’s macaws have recently been released back into the wild of Brazil.
The Studied Art Of Earbirding
When you think of the popular pastime of birding, images of folks with binoculars aimed up at a tree as they zero-in on a bird typically come to mind. However, there’s more to birding than what meets the eye. Earbirding is just how it sounds — identifying birds by the vocalizations they make. Those who bird by ear are listening for telltale contact calls, songs, and other vocalizations to identify a bird’s species. See how this form of birding takes an extraordinary learning process to able to identify a bird specifically – and only – by sound.
New Study Proves Parrots Employ The Use Of A Third Limb
As most parrot people know, our feathered companions use their beaks for more than just eating and shredding toys and destroying whatever else they might find. They also use it to get around. A recent study officially bestows parrots the title of the only animal with three functional limbs — two legs and their amazing beak. Learn how a group of peach-faced lovebirds proved that a parrot’s beak functions as a third limb.
TikTok Sensation Hamlet The Indian Ringneck Brightens The Day
Hamlet the Indian ring-necked parakeet has become a viral sensation with his goofy antics and cartoonish vocalizations. See how this feathered TikTok star brightens the day for many.
Lost African Grey Parrot’s Return Home Brings Joy To Her Special Human Friend
An unexpected event caused Precious the African grey parrot to take flight and vanish into the great outdoors. Two anxious days passed before Precious was reunited with her family. Precious is more than a family companion — she has become an emotional support companion for 10-year-old Erin, who is autistic. See how this precious parrot has in many ways become Erin’s confidant and best friend.
The Bird-Watching Bracket — 64 Birds Whittled Down To One Winner
Which bird is the one birders want to see in the wild most in 2022? Bird Watching Magazine held a bracket contest to find out!
New Study On Birds Links Large Brains With Longevity
A ground-breaking study undertaken by researchers at the Max Planck Society is the first to demonstrate a direct link between brain size and longevity. By creating a massive database, the research team was able to glean reliable estimates of the average life spans of 217 parrot species — more than half of all known species!
Echo The African Grey Parrot Is Zoo’s “Artist In Residence”
The Maryland Zoo has its very own artist in residence — Echo the African grey parrot. Parrots thrive when offered enrichment opportunities, which can include an assortment of toys, one-on-one interactions, foraging activities, trick training, and more. Echo’s go-to activity is painting!
Exotic Birds Get Help In Ukraine Crisis
Poland-based veterinarian Aleksandra Kornelia Maj has gone to great lengths to help evacuees of the Ukraine region who are entering Poland with their pet parrots. Dr. Maj offers free veterinary care to refugee birds, as well as remote help.
Animated YouTube Series Features Two Bickering Parakeets
Those of us who share our homes with multiple birds know that bickering among the flock can be par for the course. Artist Greg Capin gives his own spin on the chatter among birds with his humorous animated YouTube series, The Parakeets.
Cockatoos Learn To Golf In New Study
A new study by the Goffin Lab at the Messerli Research Institute in Vienna’s University of Veterinary Medicine gives new meaning to the golf term “Birdie” — Goffin’s cockatoos who know how to putt-putt to score a prized cashew reward.
Ollie The Cockatiel Takes On Epic Fundraising Trek Across New Zealand
Ollie the rescue cockatiel, with his colorful hand-knitted outfits, is off on an epic adventure. He and his human steward, Robyn Chappell, are trekking across New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail to raise awareness and money for the trail’s maintenance. See how this special-needs ‘tiel is warming hearts along the way.
Texas Woman Sets Bird-Watching Record & Aims To Make Birding Safer For Women
In the birding community, a “big year” is a personal challenge to identify as many species of birds as possible by sight or sound, within a single calendar year and within a specific geographic area. Texas native Tiffany Kersten not only set the record for the youngest woman to spot 700 bird species in the Lower 48 states, but she also made it her mission to make birding a safer activity for women by gifting personal safety alarms, fittingly called Birdie alarms, to women she encounters on her birding adventures.
Bogey The Cockatoo Thrives After New Procedure To Heal Chronic Cloacal Prolapse
Bogey, a 23-year-old umbrella cockatoo, is enjoying good health once again after undergoing a new procedure to alleviate persistent cloacal prolapse that plagued the ‘too for 16 years.
Utah High School Is All About The Birds With Its Groundbreaking Aviary
The sky’s the limit for learning about birds in this Utah high school, where students have the opportunity to learn about birds and participate in their daily care. Take a look inside the school’s fledgling, one-of-its-kind aviary, and meet the teacher who hatched the plan to bring birds into students’ lives in this Lafeber exclusive.
Meet SNAG, The Flying Avian Robot
Many of us know parrotlets as one of the smallest parrot species, often referred to as “pocket parrots” in the world of companion parrots. Recently, these tiny dynamos were used as inspiration behind an innovative drone — essentially a flying robot that can land and perch on a variety of surfaces just like a bird.
Winter Prep For Backyard Birding
You can help the wild birds outside your home navigate the challenges of winter months by offering the basics: food, water, and a place to take shelter. Follow these tips to make the colder months easier for your feathered backyard guests.
Companion Parrots Need Busy Work To Thrive
A new study that included an online survey of nearly 1,400 pet parrots representing 50 species shed light on abnormal parrot behaviors like biting cage bars, pacing in the cage, and pulling out feathers. Researchers from the University of Guelph, University of Bristol, and Utrecht University drew on results from a 1990 study that looked at negative parrot behavior, and their results further support what other studies have pointed to — that foraging and other enrichment opportunities are essential to companion parrots’ well-being.
Helping Australia’s Gang-Gang Cockatoos Bounce Back
The colorful and petite gang-gang cockatoo might soon be listed as a threatened species after Australia’s recent bushfire disasters further reduced the cockatoo’s population. To help counteract the gang-gang’s declining numbers, Australia’s Eurobodalla Shire Council is joining the effort to save them by building artificial breeding hollows to replace the natural sites lost in the region. Learn more about this parrot that is adored by locals and the push to save them.
Dazzling Scarlet Macaw Cross-Stitch Wins First Place
After 1,000 hours spread over 18 months, the self-taught Philip Brill used his cross-stitching skills to create a vibrant rendition of a scarlet macaw. His hard work paid off, with a first-place award at the St. Mary’s County Art Council’s annual Art Walk contest. Learn about the inspiration behind Brill’s magnificent art piece, as well as the process involved in bringing his subject to life on congress cloth.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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” 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.
Cities Building Bird-Friendly Communities
To combat declining wild bird populations, some cities are making their landscapes more bird-friendly.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
“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 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.
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.
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.