Did you know that President William McKinley had a parrot named “Washington Post?” The parrot trend has certainly persisted through time—there are more than 40 million kept as pets in the U.S. alone. While it makes sense that these intelligent and bejeweled animals would make excellent pets, it’s anything but sensible when the illegal animal trade threatens biodiversity and accelerates extinction.
Less than 50 orange-bellied parrots are estimated to remain in Australia, and a survey conducted throughout the country last weekend uncovered three sightings of the birds on an island in Swan Bay, off Queenscliff.
The survey, conducted mostly by volunteers, has so far found six of the parrots in total, with three spotted in Werribee, according to the Orange-bellied Parrot National Recovery Team.
Department of Sustainability and Environment biodiversity officer Rachel Pritchard said the team was heartened to have found such a significant proportion of the population in Victoria.
Parrots, which have long amused us for their ability to imitate our vocal patterns, actually learn to caw their "names" from their parents, says a new Cornell study. The research offers the first evidence that parrots learn their unique signature calls from their parents and shows that vocal signaling in wild parrots is a socially acquired rather than a genetically wired trait.