Avian socializing in the 21st century

How nifty!

Parrots are social creatures. However, most pet parrots are singletons. They get lonely and sometimes that leads to destructive behavior.

From the Smithsonian:

Once the birds had learned how to initiate video interactions, the second phase of the experiment could begin. In this “open call” period, the 15 participating birds could make calls freely; they also got to choose which bird to dial up. Over the next two months, pet parrots made 147 deliberate video calls to other birds. [...]

For starters, they found that the parrots took advantage of the opportunity to call one another, and they typically stayed on the call for the maximum time allowed during the experiment. They also seemed to understand that another live bird was on the other side of the screen, not a recorded bird, researchers say. Some of the parrots learned new skills from their virtual companions, including flying, foraging and how to make new sounds. [...]

The birds forged strong friendships, which researchers measured by how frequently they chose to call the same individual. Parrots who initiated the highest number of video calls also received the most calls, which suggests a “reciprocal dynamic similar to human socialization,” per the statement.

The article links to this ACM paper. Yes, ACM-CHI, meaning it's from a technical conference not an animal-behavior conference. (Also, I guess this stretches the boundaries of the 'H' in CHI, which stands for Computer-Human Interaction, or at least did the last time I attended that conference.)