As far as I am concerned parrots will do much more than mimic; they can communicate. In fact, I think the case studies done by Dr. Irene Pepperberg–the world’s foremost authority of parrot intelligence and trainer of Alex the African Grey Parrot. Pepperberg proved that parrots can use sophisticated language and can have an extensive vocabulary.
Alex was also able to deal with abstracts and was good at problem solving. Pepperberg was able to exchange thoughts with Alex. I believed she proved to any non-believers that birds can do much more than mimic, they can communicate.
I never taught a bird to talk by repeating a phrase or word over and over. I taught simply by example. I would talk to the bird, ask questions, describe what I was doing while going about my daily activities.
When I was a young child we had a parakeet. I am not really sure whose pet it was but remembering back it was my mother who spent the most time with him.
She would repeat a phrase over and over again, and that is exactly what Blueboy did, said the same thing, over and over again; pretty bird, Blueboy, pretty bird, Blueboy. That is why you teach communication not repetition.
One of my first parrots was a hand-fed baby. I would spend hours a day with this bird. Even if I couldn’t spend one on one time with him, even if I was just cleaning house I would always talk to the bird. I just simply described what I saw, depicted what I was doing, asked him questions, though it was a while until I saw the results of my efforts.
When I put the cage cover over the cage during the night, I would sit close by and listen. In the sweetest, lowest voice imaginable I could hear this bird mumbling to himself, over and over, mumble mutter, until he went to sleep. He was practicing speech. I also didn’t recognize any formed words in the mutters. It was a while until he uttered his first words. However, as the nights went by I could hear more variations in tone and inflections in his mutters.
Find out what my parrot Riker said the next morning. It will truly astonish you! Does a bird communicate? You be the judge of that! Bird Talk
The Parrot Problem Solver [Hardcover] Use this link to find the less expensive electronic version of this book. (Kindle)
Diana Geiger Exotic Pets Editoron