Anyone living with parrots gets the idea that they understand a lot more speech than we realize. Maynard especially knows that his sweet-voiced “Good Morning” will get a chuckle from me, especially at night when I am turning out the lights. As I’ve said before, he’s trained me to know that when he asks, “Want a cracker?” he is saying he wants some of whatever I am eating. If he doesn’t like what I am eating, he will complain until bread or cheese magically appear.
Through animation, we have come to think of our birds as little people sometimes. Reading studies that say they have the intelligence of a three-year-old human child doesn’t make them children. But some of us treat them that way. In the recent past, with the fear of having to rehome my whole flock hanging over me, I did tell people they were my children. This is not exactly true, only a way to communicate with non-bird people.
Mixing what my birds do say with what I think they would say if they had full human understanding, I present the following speeches from my birds. I hope you enjoy the silliness.
Four-year-old violet lovebird, Jake: Is there anything else to eat? Can I have some of that? I don’t want to go back in my cage. I’m going to visit the birds in the other rooms. I’m back, did you miss me? I’m not afraid of that green bird/those cockatiels/conures/other lovebirds/greys/ringneck/wild birds/cat.
26 year old double yellow headed Amazon Maynard: Don’t leave me! May I have an almond? This is my favorite toy. What is it? Come over here. Come on! I like your phone. Scratch my head. Nice. Nice. NO! Too much. Okay, you can do it again. Don’t touch my wing/tail/back/feet.
Two year old grey Indian Ringneck Parakeet Wraith: Stay away! You can’t see me in my tent.
Whitefaced grey cockatiel of unknown age Kai: This is my personal space. Stay out of it. Now this is my personal space, too. This is my personal toy which I will sit on so it will hatch someday.
Blind Congo African Grey of unknown age Io: Did something change? What was that noise? Here’s my toy, right where I left it. The food is good, but the bowl tastes better. You moved my cage! Your voices are coming from a strange direction! I must panic and shake and moan for a while. Another bird is having fun. I don’t know if I like that. I must shake and complain until I make up my mind.
Toeless Congo African Grey of unknown age Bo Dangles: I’m beautiful. I have my quirks, and you just need to get to know me. I only bite you because I love you. I always say I’m sorry if I draw blood. Will you birds be quiet? Jake, come here! Don’t bother me, I’m watching my budgies. I love the little yellow one. I wish you would put that cat in my cage.
Male Canary named Ernesto: I have a beautiful voice, all the girls love to hear me sing. La la la la la trill. And for my next number, La la la la la trill. Here’s my favorite, La la la la la trill. Now the big finish: La la la la la TRILL trill.
Keep smiling and I’ll be back on Thursday.