The Name Game

Naming birds is tricky. Humans are hung up on gender issues, and they feel really stupid if they give a male bird a female name and vice versa. In truth, the bird could care less. Whatever name you call it, those are just sounds that mean you want the parrot’s attention. I can’t think of too many domestic animals that can tell if you gave them a gender name that doesn’t match them. There are few honest pet psychologists with loads of cats and dogs seeing them to get over the trauma of the wrong name.

True, dogs will respond better to a name that does get their attention. And stop naming your dogs with people names, will you? You are just adding to the problem of anthropomorphizing them. Yeah, like that’s a big problem. Respect your pets as family members and as the animals they are. That’s all it takes. And darn if they don’t divide their list of “favorite” names into males and females. Talk about anthropomorphizing.

I was going to be flippant (okay, more flippant) and say cats don’t respond, so call them what you like. But that’s not true or fair. Some cats can be taught. You can name the kitten the sound the can opener makes and it will always be there when you call. This article doesn’t mind using people names, and takes you to the same list of names as the dog one above. And research shows that cats like names that end in an “ee” sound.

Parrots are tricky. You have a good chance of hearing the bird repeat whatever you name it. And this can sometimes cause untold heartache. For instance, I love the name Paula. I love the name Melissa. I can never name any pet those names because the two previous wives of my husband went by those names. My first cockatiel I named Palafox. I never planned on having him say his own name, so I didn’t mind that he probably couldn’t handle the F or X. Maynard says his name a lot, which makes him sound like an idiot child. What is it about having your bird say its name in conversation?

Science has shown that wild parrots name their offspring, and have names themselves. They communicate with thousands of other birds and identify themselves by their name. Handfed and hand raised birds probably sit around wondering what their names are, or why the big feeding machine isn’t using their name. I wonder if that means when we finally do name them, they are able to relax and start interacting with other parrots, finally. Here’s a better list of names for your parrot.

Oh, the things we do to our pets. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.


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