Interesting Bird Facts From A Lexington, Ky Veterinarian

Did you know that birds are the fourth most common pet in America? Fluffy and Fido rank first and second, respectively, with fish in third place. There may be over 7.5 million pet birds in the US, according to estimates from the American Veterinary Medical Association. Read more about Man’s Fourth Best Friend from a local Lexington, KY veterinarian in this article.

Their Sizes Vary Dramatically

The tiniest bird is the hummingbird, as you may already be aware. These cute little guys have the ability to hover in place and even fly backwards. Their eggs are only about the size of a jellybean!

On the other extreme of the spectrum is the Kakapo parrot. Found in New Zealand, this colorful bird has a charming, slightly confused look and can weigh up to seven pounds. Because they are unable to fly, kakapo are particularly vulnerable to threats like predators and habitat degradation. They were once widespread in New Zealand. However, cats, weasels, and other creatures brought in by traders hunted these and other flightless birds, leading them to the brink of extinction. Fortunately, the Kakapo seems to be rebounding. Cross your fingers!

An Unsung Hero

These days, pigeons are usually considered a nuisance. However, these gentle and beautiful birds possess many unique qualities, aside from their remarkable ability to navigate long distances to find their way home.

  • Pigeons proved to be immensely helpful during wars. They were often used to send messages. In fact, it is said that hundreds of lives were saved because of their mail services.
  • They were employed by sinking ships to relay SOS signals. 
  • Their eyesight is superb. They have even been able to find people from sinking or destroyed ships in the water, because of their ability to perceive ultraviolet light.
  • They might have been the earliest domesticated birds by humans, and were depicted in Mesopotamian artwork from 4500 BCE.
  • Pigeon racing was quite popular for a while, and still happens today! These birds can fly fast enough to give spectators an entertaining race.
  • Pigeons do well in urban areas because they like stone and concrete.
  • In New York City alone, there can be more than a million pigeons.

Color By Numbers?

Did you know that blue jays like paint chips? Limestone is both a common ingredient in paint and a great source of calcium. 

They Can Turn Up the Volume to 15

Ever wonder what the loudest bird in the world is? The White Bellbird. This stunning bird, which entices mates by being very, very loud, is found in the Amazon rainforest. These aren’t the only loud birds, though. The Moluccan Cockatoo, for instance, has a decibel range of 135 to 135. That’s about the equivalent to a modern rock concert!

A Vibrant Bird With A Vibrant History

A bird named Charlie at Heathfield Nurseries in Surrey, England has become part of local legends. It is said that the blue-and-gold Macaw hatched in 1899. Rumor has it that Winston Churchill once owned Charlie, and taught the bird to curse the Nazis, especially Hitler. Churchill’s family denies the claim, and Charlie has not provided any clarification. Regardless, the bird is happy, healthy, and quite old!

No Birdbrains Here

A Budgie named Puck made waves with her remarkable intelligence. The little ball of feathers entered the Guinness Book of World Records after learning an amazing 1728 words.

Pandemic Popularity

There was at least one bit of silver lining to the pandemic, in that many pets benefitted from the lockdowns. Pet adoption soared during the quarantines. Plus, our animal friends were just happy to see their humans home more often. Birds also became more popular during the lockdowns.

For Love Of Birds

All of our animal friends have loyal fans. However, many bird owners are very dedicated to their winged friends. 

  • The majority of bird-owning families have an average of 2.46 birds.
  • In the past year, almost 60% of bird owners reported spending more money on Polly.
  • Five out of ten bird owners said their pets were fed a particular diet. By contrast, only about 10% of cats and dogs that live as companions are. Additionally, owners of birds were more likely to give their pets vitamins.

The World’s First Music

Have you ever seen a group of swallows flying together, circling and twirling as though they were doing a dance? This beautiful phenomenon is called a murmuration. According to scientists, birds engage in this behavior to confuse predators and make it harder for them to target individual birds. What’s even more astonishing is the fact that birds may be reacting to biological radio signals. Each bird interacts with the birds that are closest to them, but the whole flock is connected.

Fine Feathered Companions

Birds are the only animals that sport feathers. However, not all birds have feathers on their heads. Some bald birds include ostriches, marabou storks, and vultures. 

Boogie Down

Have you ever watched cute videos of happy birds dancing to their favorite music? Some of our feathered buddies really like to bop around! Cockatoos are particularly renowned for their ability to groove. This makes sense, if you think about it: after all, birdsong is nature’s original music.

Polly Stole Our Hearts

Parrots have occupied a special position in our hearts and shoulders for thousands of years. Actually, Alexander the Great brought some of these colorful birds back from the Indian subcontinent. Polly even learned Latin from the ancient Romans! 

  • A few parrots use tools. Research at the Universities of York and St Andrews observed  Greater Vasa parrots grinding cockleshells with pebbles and pit dates.
  • Parrots comprise the psittacine order.
  • Because of their bent beaks, parrots are also called hookbills. 
  • They can be a bit extra. Polly has been known to sing, dance, curse, and imitate car alarms and cell phones.
  • Parrots are zygodactyls. Like most other birds, they have four toes on each foot. The toes on parrots’ feet are a little odd, though; they have two pointing frontward and two pointing backward. 
  • Roughly one-third of the world’s parrot species face extinction.
  • Up to 99 percent of Ghana’s native African grey parrot population has been decimated by logging.
  • They are quite smart. In fact, an African grey parrot by the name of Alex was said to have an IQ equivalent to a five year old human. The last thing he said to his owner was “You be good. I love you.”
  • Many parrots talk! This isn’t guaranteed, but several of our winged falls can speak. Some of the birds that have this capacity include the African Grey, Budgerigar, Amazon Parrot, Indian Ringneck Parakeet, Quaker Parrot, and Eclectus.
  • Those beaks can crack even the toughest nuts on the planet.
  • The little Pygmy parrot is the smallest parrot. Measuring barely 3 inches in length, these adorable birds consume mushrooms, instead of insects.
  • They can have a longer lifespan than people. Larger parrots, like Macaws, may live for 100 years or more. (It’s important to consider this before adopting one.)
  • In an experiment, researchers from MIT, the University of Glasgow, and Northeastern University trained parrots to talk to each other via video chat. The majority of the birds appeared to enjoy the Zoom sessions!


Do you have any questions about taking care of your pet bird? At any time, get in touch with your Lexington, KY pet hospital!

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