Category: Everyday

chattering lory; lorikeet

Summer Heat & Our Birds

Summer—that sizzling time of the year when we try to stay hydrated and perhaps indulge in water-dense foods like watermelon and other juicy fruits. When exposed to the summer heat, we might break out in a sweat and seek shade to cool our bodies down. What about our feathered friends…how do they stay cool? Here are some interesting facts about birds and heat, and tips for helping our feathered companions stay comfortable all summer long.

African grey parrot

Inside Dr. Pepperberg’s Lab: Alex’s Numerical Abilities — Part II

In her latest blog, Dr. Irene Pepperberg takes us back to when Alex, her African grey protégé, and his numerical abilities: The challenge this time required that Alex comprehend the auditorially presented symbolic numeral label (e.g. “6”) and use its meaning to direct a search for the exact amount specified by that label (e.g. six things); that is, know exactly what a set of “X” individual items is, even when intermixed with other items representing different numerical sets, and he couldn’t just make approximations like label a set of five objects as “six” or “four.” Read on to see why, compared to young children on a similar task, Alex was more successful, and how this study led to an unexpected additional finding.

parrot chick

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.

Spix's Macaw sitting on a tree branch

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.

yellow wild bird perched on stick chirping

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.

two lovebirds on branch

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.

wild great green macaw flying

Lafeber’s Global Parrot Conservation Spotlight: The Great Green Macaws of Costa Rica

This month’s Lafeber Conservation spotlight takes us to Costa Rica, where the Macaw Recovery Network (MRN)is leading the charge to help increase the population numbers of the great green macaw. For a critically endangered species like the great greens, every egg matters. See the great lengths MRN goes through to give every egg a chance of hatching and fledging.

African grey parrot naps on t-stand

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.

African grey parrot standing on table in front of paint canvas

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!

side view of perched Kea parrot

Lafeber’s Global Parrot Conservation Spotlight: New Zealand Keas

This month’s Lafeber Conservation spotlight takes us to New Zealand, where the NZ Parrot Trust is leading the charge to help increase the population numbers of the curious and sometimes mischievous Kea parrot — the only mountain parrot species in the world! Learn why these parrots’ ferocious chewing tendencies can pose a hazard to themselves, and what is being done to protect them.

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.

African grey parrot Alex

Inside Dr. Pepperberg’s Lab: Alex’s Communication Skills

In her latest Lafeber blog, Dr. Irene Pepperberg shares Alex the African grey’s impressive grasp of words and his eagerness to expand his vocabulary. Learn more about Alex’s passion for learning, how his time in the lab differed from that of greys Griffin and Athena, and how he was very particular about his grapes!

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.

blue-and-gold macaws

Lafeber’s Global Parrot Conservation Spotlight: The Urban Birds Project–Macaws In The City Of Campo Grande, Brazil

Lafeber’s latest Conservation Spotlight takes us to the metropolitan city of Campo Grande, Brazil, where the Instituto Arara Azul is helping wild blue & golds and other macaws thrive in the city. As human encroachment consumes many parrot species’ native lands, helping them thrive in the city environments that encircle them is an innovative idea, and perhaps a critical one for the survival of some parrot species.

Goffin's cockato

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.

cockatiel

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.

blue footed boobie bird

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.

Amazon parrot

Male Or Female? Your Bird’s Gender Goes Beyond Naming

Do you know your bird’s sex? Unlike cats and dogs, many popular parrot companions can be surprisingly hard to tell the difference between males and females by looking at them. Find out why knowing your bird’s sex can positively affect its health and well-being, and help you better understand your bird’s behaviors.

aviary

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.

bird robot

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.

African grey; parrot and toy

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.

cockatoo

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.

Lafeber’s Global Parrot Conservation Spotlight: Guatemala & the Scarlet Macaw

Lafeber’s latest Conservation Spotlight takes us to Guatemala, where the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has strived to help macaws by building nesting sites, monitoring fledging rates to determine macaw population, and growing support from the surrounding community through education and outreach programs.

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.

two African grey parrots eating leaf of chard

Inside Dr. Pepperberg’s Lab: Dealing with Picky Eaters

Parrots, like people, have their individualized tastes in food. This includes their own interpretations of what constitutes fresh produce, as well as the order in which food should be eaten. In her latest blog, Dr. Irene Pepperberg dishes on African greys Athena and Griffin’s specific food preferences.

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.

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.

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.

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