Our Talking Parrots

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Everyone that loves parrots wants to have a talking parrot.  I’ve got seven parrots and most of them talk.

Let me introduce you to my flock of talking parrots.  I’ll go from largest to smallest:

Peachy is our 14 year old Moluccan Cockatoo. I got him when he was 3 years old. I had gone into the pet store to look for a Blue and Gold Macaw for my husband, but every time that I walked by Peachy, he’d say, “Hey, come here.” I visited him a couple of times a week over the course of a month while doing a lot of research on Moluccan Cockatoo’s to make sure he’d be a good fit in my family. The bird store personnel told me that he acted much more animated with me than with other customers. I guess he originally picked me. Peachy is a good talking parrot. He says: Hi, whatcha doing (whatcha doing doing!), hey come here, mommy, Max (my son), Hello, step up, and he is always quick to yell out our dogs names to scold them when they bark too much! – The correct name for the dog that’s barking.

Smokey is an 11 year old Congo African Grey. I got him as a young baby and I have to admit, he is pretty spoiled. He is out on his Parrot Tower Bird Stand a lot. When he is around me or others he is a whistler and beeper. He’s also quite the prankster. Several years ago he learned my husband’s cell phone ring. You can imagine how many times Jim answered the phone and no one was there. He also learned that my husband would call me “Hey, Diane!” and I’d answer. One time, I kept hearing my name called from upstairs. I’d answer and get no reply. This happened over and over again until I was starting to get mad! What the H#%** do you want!” Turns out it was Smokey! Other than Hey Diane, Smokey says hello, hi, step up, chow chow, Timmy, Sissy and more.

Timmy and Sierra are 6 year old Timneh African Grey Parrots. I got them both as a young babies and even hand fed Sierra. Sierra is also is a mostly whistler and beeper. She knows a lot of words but prefers to communicate with her people flock  in a series of whistles.  Timmy, on the other hand, is a serious talker.  He says so many things that I don’t have room to list them all. I’ll bet, Timmy can say at least 30 phrases. He also whistles “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.” One of the funniest (and embarrassing) things he often asks the dogs is “Do you have to go pee pee?”  I guess he is determined to keep our carpet smelling fresh!

Mandolina a.k.a. Mandy is a 6 year old flighted Orange Winged Amazon. I hand fed her from the time she was featherless until she was weaned. The most popular talking Amazon Parrots are the Yellow Napped and Double Yellow Head Amazon’s. Mandy thinks she doesn’t need her cage.  She has an open playtop bird cage and so she goes all over the bird room and the basement.  Mandy does not speak as much parrots of those species, but she knows several phrases. She also has several whistles and coo’s that she uses routinely to determine my whereabouts in the house or to just let me know she loves being out and following me about in flight, as I go about my business.

Skeeter is a 6 year old Red Bellied Parrot. She is also flighted. She had come from an abusive background but she totally loves me! It’s mutual. Skeeter loves to ride around on my shoulder and preen my hair. Her cage usually has an open door policy as does Mandy’s so they hang out together most of the time. Skeeter loves to explore and can be a little mischievous, too. She has a larger vocabulary than Mandy, probably having about 8 phrases that she says consistently.


Mika
is a 3 year old Pacific Parrotlet. Unlike the other birds in our flock, who have their own bird room, Mika’s cage is upstairs. I’ve had a lot of customers who tell me that they have talking parrotlet’s, but I’m not sure if Mika talks or not. She tweets a lot, but her little vocal cords are so tiny that I can’t decipher if she is actually talking. Mika loves to ride around on my shoulder. She is pretty feisty and territorial. She’s flighted, too.
So, how did we get so many talking parrots? One of the earliest things I learned in my friendship with parrots is how important it is to prevent problem behaviors including screaming and biting. Parrots that talk and whistle to communicate with you are much less likely to scream for attention. While not every parrot is a proficient talker, there are a number of things you can do to promote a talking parrot.

  1. Develop a training schedule.  Parrots are quick learners with short attention spans.
  2. Study Clicker Training techniques.
  3. Learn to read Parrot Body Language.
  4. Match your parrots voice inflection training in the same tones or vocal capabilities that your parrot has.
  5. Teach bird tricks to your parrot.  Each new learning experience adds to the learning momentum.   The more you train your parrot the faster it will learn the next, subsequent trick.
One source that we highly recommend is Taming, Training and Tricks Talking On Cue.
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About Diane Burroughs

Diane Burroughs, founded BirdSupplies.com in 1998. A bird lover who is owned by African Grey's, a Moluccan, a Parrotlet and a Red-Bellied Parrot, Diane is dedicated to improving the lives of pet birds with vet-approved parrot tested supplies and expert bird care articles.

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