Australian bird flu fears are not unfounded after a research team revealed that many of the country’s birds can be put to use as parrot pets.
A team of Australian scientists found that the native wild birds could be used for many purposes in a number of domestic settings.
It comes after reports last week that some bird species, including the common duck, could be bred to serve as surrogate pets for humans and used as surrogate dogs to improve the quality of life of the elderly.
The researchers, from the University of New South Wales and the University Of Queensland, have published their results in the journal Nature Communications.
The team studied wild birds from all over Australia, including wild boar, possum, red kite and red-winged kite.
They found the native birds could perform many of their roles and even help people by helping them with the daily tasks of caring for the pet.
“Many of the native bird species in the wild can be considered surrogate pets of humans, and it is also possible that they may be used in domestic settings,” the study says.
“It is possible that in the future these birds could become used as companion pets for individuals with cognitive impairments, and/or elderly people.”
The researchers say the study is the first to report the use of wild birds for the purpose of surrogate pets.
“There is no doubt that wild birds are a valuable resource to humans, who are also a large source of feed for wild animals,” they write.
“We therefore believe that the use and conservation of wild bird species as surrogate pet species is not limited to the domestic animal industry.”
The research team also found many of Australia’s native bird populations are in decline.
They used genetic data to see which of the species had been domesticated and then looked at their numbers.
“The species that we studied was one that had been introduced into Australia from the wild,” Dr Matthew Brown, from UQ’s Department of Biological Sciences, said.
“That is, the red-necked kites were introduced into our country and it seems that they’ve done very well.”
They are a species that are not only good for humans, but they can be very good for their environment as well.
“While they were able to identify some of the bird species they had chosen as surrogate and surrogate owners, the researchers said the study was limited in scope because it did not look at all the birds.”
Our study was only about the native species, which is a lot of birds, and we were looking at them in isolation, so there are still some wild birds that we haven’t got a good picture of,” Dr Brown said.
The research involved breeding several species of birds and found they could provide some of their functions.”
One of the main ones that we did look at was the red kites, and their ability to assist with the household chores was very well known,” Dr Chris Jones, who led the study, said in a statement.”
For example, a lot the housework was done by the red Kites in the backyard, which allowed them to be used, as surrogate, as pets, or as food.
“While the research has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, the research team said it was not limited by limitations of current methods of genetic testing.
The study was funded by the Australian Research Council and the Department of Natural Resources and Climate Change.
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