Nutri-Berries and Foraging: A Neuroanatomic Perspective

Key Points

  • Brain studies point to environmental enrichment and foraging as important components of the natural conditions that continuously stimulate neurogenesis of the avian brain.
  • Companion parrots carefully manipulate the multifaceted food item of Nutri-Berries and “feel” individual components with the side of their maxillary and mandibular bills and tongue.
  • The rich textures and shapes stimulate many brain centers as they enhance the foraging experience.
  • Brain studies suggest that the brain selects for situations that enhance neurogenesis and memory.
  • Birds using Nutri-Berries, as a food source, have been observed to manipulate and work on this food item for longer periods of time compared with pellets.
  • Companion parrots selecting Nutri-Berries over pellets in a home environment may be selecting for further brain stimulation.

Foraging for food is a basic behavioral repertoire for birds in the wild. The lack of opportunities for companion birds to engage in this behavior may play an important role in the development of abnormal behaviors. For example, Snyder et al documented that Puerto Rican Amazon parrots spend approximately 4–6 hour per day foraging and that they routinely travel several miles between sites. In contrast, companion birds in our homes like the orange-winged Amazon parrot spend approximately 30–72 minutes per day eating a pelleted diet without traveling, manipulating food items, and not attempting to balance their own . . .

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