I suspect most people would say their parrots are happy and cite some evidence:
- They sing or talk
- They play with toys or do tricks
- They willingly interact with us and let us scratch their heads
But sometimes we mistakenly think other human beings are happy when they really aren’t. So, can we really be sure our parrots are happy?
If you love reading scientific papers like me, there’s a fascinating paper in Current Biology called “Do Birds Have the Capacity for Fun?”
Like the article, let’s start with this viral video of a raven sledding down a roof in Russia.
It’s very hard as a human to watch this and not be 100% sure this raven is having fun and is therefore, very happy. But for the sake of argument, let’s make up some other explanations for what they are doing:
- Practicing for a sport
- Building up strength and agility
- Doing something their friends dared them to do
- Working on overcoming a fear of heights
All of those sound more like human things than raven things.…