Guest Author - Heather Thomas
Birds are unique in that they can mimic sound and speech. Vocalization is used to communicate within a species, warn of an enemy intruder, win a mate, greet the day and say goodnight. It is part of their way of life. This way of life translates into the talking companion bird. When we bring a bird into our home, we become its flock. It, in-turn, mimics the sounds it is bombarded with everyday. Doorbells, appliance beeps, laughter and speech all spring forth from the natural inclination of your bird to become part of the flock.
Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear
Animals that can talk possess a magical quality, especially when they say cute or entertaining things. Their words, whether we like it or not, are a window into the home. When our bird repeats kind, loving, or humorous words we are thrilled. If the words arenít so kind or are even embarrassing, it is too late to take them back. We are sentenced, sometimes, to a lifetime of hearing our cruel or hurtful words repeated back to us. Some words should never be said to our birds. Shut-up is at the top of the list. Unless you want your bird to scream shut-up, donít do it to him. If your bird is loud, consider the environment. Is your environment loud? Birds operate within the flock mentality. If their environment is loud, they join in. It is better to calm the environment or provide a creative distraction. Be cautious not to reward screaming behavior with either positive or negative attention. Any type of attention when a bird is misbehaving reinforces bad behavior. It is not effective to yell at your bird. You are, very likely, going to teach them to say words you would rather not have repeated.
Teaching your bird to talk is not a complicated process. Repetition is the key to training your bird. This is the reason so many birds make common household sounds such as the microwave beep and the telephone ring. Many birds learn to mimic without effort, on the part of their owners, simply because common sounds and words are heard repeatedly in the course of everyday life. However, if you want to teach your bird to say something specific, the word or phrase must be taught by repetition. Many people employ the use of a recording device set on replay while they are away. To teach your bird to talk while you are away during the day may seem like a great idea, but remember, vocalization is how they interact within the flock. This method could train your bird to either talk when you arenít home or not talk at all, because they are lacking the stimulation interaction provides. Birds are stimulated to speech by our excitement at their performance. They want to please us, to be part of our flock.
It is not difficult to teach your companion bird to speak but it does require us to use thoughtful consideration when we interact with them. Some of the most entertaining things birds have learned to repeat are simply from daily interaction with the people they live with.