To my knowledge, there does not currently (June 17, 2019) exist a singular model in which the most common (existing) species of macaw and their hybrid lines are depicted. Plenty of websites list lineage with pictures/description (i.e., Calico = military x greenwing), but none use charts nor diagrams. My figures are the first of their kind to combine visual, descriptive, linkage, and relative body size across the species and hybrids. The first figure is especially fascinating in that it demonstrates how dependent hobbyists are on some of the more prominent species. The Blue & Gold is still claimed to be the most frequently used "base" in hybridization because of its commonality, but looking at this figure, the scarlet now tops the chart with 9 unique hybrid contributions.
Of course, I had to include the mighty Mini macaws and even the Spix's, since it's technically still around, albeit at the verge of extinction. I'm also surprised to see Buffon's and Hyacinths crossed as often as they are considering their rarity. In the future I would like to elaborate upon this diagram to include phenotypical differences based on parentage. For example, Harlequins can be more orange-colored when fathers are GW and mothers are B&G.
More aesthetically appealing and intuitive is the F1 Hybrid Chart. I'm not a fan of the goofy names people have given some of the hybrids ("Buffwing" is probably my least favorite), and honestly I'm not a fan of hybridizing in general if it's not for preservation purposes. But, the outcomes are interesting to me, especially when it comes to the behavioral traits the progeny supposedly "inherit."
At the moment, the Hyacinth x Greenwing cross does not have an official name, and I could only find evidence of one in existence (poor Hector). The single video I could find features him in a small, toy-less cage in a pet shop somewhere. I hope someone has given him a better life since that video's posting.
Anyway, hope you enjoy!
Please note that I do NOT take credit for any of the photos used in these figures. These images were gleaned from Google, Facebook, and other websites.
Complete with terrible, rushed photoshop effects!
Psi Chi is always fun for me. I love diving into a group of people whose dreams align with mine, still at the cusp of their journeys and full of questions. Academic futures abound. Everyone has questions.
I remember my first Psi Chi meeting in undergrad. I was too far down the "psych major" ladder to join, but I still attended the events. Two "old school" psych professors, both in their late 70s, loudly debated behaviorism versus cognitivism, the latter of which was defended by my very own chief advisor and drama extraordinaire. He humiliated the behaviorist, handing out papers with the man's most ridiculed quotes on them, even an article he had published in Esquire (yes, it was real). The audience boo'd the behaviorist, who coincidentally was also the department's most abhorred professor, and eventually the man threw his hands up and left, probably to crouch over exams and fail students relentlessly. It had been less of a debate (although it had started out that way) and more of a roast. I immediately knew I wanted in.
I didn't do much as a Psi Chi member in undergrad. Looking back, I wish I had. Although I participated in all of the mandatory fundraising events, I could have been a heavy voice to instigate change and clarity. If any psychology majors are reading this, take action and grab the wheel when you have the chance. Plus it looks good on your CV... *ahem*
Now that I am older and caught in the mire of what truly matters in undergrad, I try to be that heavy voice that I should have been years ago. The difference is that now I orchestrate rather than do the moving. The birds help me in that regard. They spark some level of curiosity, make psychology tangible, and at the same time enable my brief soap box rants about animal welfare and species conservation. And they make it look like I know what I'm doing.
Closing: Go kick some life ass!
In prior years, my *RAs have presented various portions of my research in little seminars and "research carnivals," which was fun and laid-back. This year, four of them stepped up and asked to formally present their own posters at our local undergraduate research conference. For the past couple of months we have been arms-deep in constructing novel questions/analyses with my incoming dissertation data. Everyone was nervous, but pleasantly surprised with how fun conferences actually are! As an additional positive takeaway, everyone received specific invitations to work with faculty/grad students in other labs (or as potential graduate students in the future)! I am incredibly proud of them!
*For more information, check out my People page.
For more about each poster, click here.
I've had parrots since I was a child and bred green cheeked conures through undergrad. One of my major objectives has been to intervene during early development to establish human-avian communication via operant conditioning. This is a fancy way of saying that I wanted to teach them to do tricks at an early age so that they knew how to navigate a human world with simple communicative symbols.
The above image (copyrighted by me) is my depiction, based on my life's experience, networking, and the few journal articles available, of where popular species stand on these axes. This was inspired by Arthur (my un-cape parrot) and several other species with whom I've worked to develop trick training. While my conures, whom I brought to class, are fantastic workers, my Arthur is not. This is the bane of several un-cape owners' existence, especially since they are notorious for their high emotionality and intelligence. It occurred to me (as well as a few others) that some species may be "too" smart for formal training, or at least food-based training. I made this chart because it is the first of its kind, and it seems to be a decent representation.
On the far right, you have high cognitive complexity (very loosely defined since this is a rough draft). Cockatoos, macaws, Greys, and other difficult species (including a crow for reference) make up the majority of this hemisphere. However, while cockatoos on the whole are much less likely to respond to food-based reward, macaws are famous for their trainability. On the far left side, you see an interesting cluster in the top pole. Although all parrot species do qualify as cognitively complex (as are most vocal-learning types of social animals) in reference to, say, reptiles, they are not known for being emotional circuses like Cacatua.
It seems that there is a "just right" combination for trick training, if you also want a less cognitively complex trainee, and that interactions may occur as complexity progresses across the chart. In essence, the more complex you are, the more room for differences in trainability.
You'll notice that Greys are on the far right and in the middle. I put them there because they are very good at training, but shy away in front of strangers.
If you have an individual who seems to defy this trend, that is interesting. However, keep in mind that individuals are just that- individual. Nonetheless, there is much to be learned, and as the future continues I am excited to incorporate additional axes and measures.
Please do not use the chart without first acquiring my written consent :)
I've spent the past few weeks designing "Betty," a 3D model of the brain stem, limbic system, and basal ganglia.
One of my RAs is removing the support material so that we can get to painting her!
She's going to be used heavily in my Physiological Psychology classes, and possibly for research later on.