In my house, you have to be sure of who is speaking before you answer back. You might think your husband just agreed to do a major bit of yard work next weekend, but when you tell him you will help him, that blank look means one of the parrots said “Okay.”
Maynard is easy to have a conversation with, because he doesn’t sound too much like any person in the house. When I come out to the office first thing, he will say, “Good Morning! How are you? Want a cracker?” If I tell him no, I don’t want a cracker, he will scream.
He switches to saying, “Hi, Maynard! Pretty bird!” for a while, then cobbles together, “Hello, cracker?” How can I resist? Especially when saying no will bring back the screaming. He will also randomly say, “Good bye, Maynard.” or just “Goodbye.” I always ask him where he is going, but so far he doesn’t respond.
Wraith, our Indian ringneck parakeet, says his name, sometimes says pretty bird and good night, and always says, Oh! But with a long drawn-out O. Orion just chirps and cries, but if they are both males and someday say the same words, their voices are much too similar to tell apart.
Io the blind Congo African gray is champion at noises, especially the boop from the answering machine to tell us a message is waiting. He also does a spot-on laugh that Mike does when he is deeply amused by something. I’ve often had to check to see what was so funny, only to discover the bird was the one who laughed.
Most of the time, Io whistles. He has discovered ranges of sound that only dogs and bats can hear. Now and then we have to start singing or whistling along to get him to change to something else.
But the most confusing talker in the house is Bo Dangles, the toeless Congo African gray. (Side note. Whenever Mike or I see a normal CAG, we always comment on that’s what a parrot looks like when it has toes and can see. Kind of a gallows humor) Bobo sounds like me so much so that Mike will say, “What?” if she mumbles something. We can’t always understand what she says, but what we can understand she uses at the right moments. She asks for “water” and “apple” when other cages are getting restocked and cleaned. If she falls off a shelf, she will say “I’m sorry!” This is often followed by “Are you okay?”
She still says “Jake!” the name of the lovebird I let get outside and subsequently was killed by a hawk. I wish I could get her to stop, but it’s best to just ignore that. She’s not a very loud bird, unless she is playing with her bells, and if the other birds are screaming and whistling, she will shout, “Alright, alright, alright! Knock it off!”
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.