Most of as are aware by now that some parrots can talk to us. When I say SOME that is exactly what I mean. I believe a lot of us, perhaps as children, went to an exotic bird show where the birds were doing clever tricks and talking to the trainers/owners.
I personally remember falling in love with this one white Cockatoo while watching a show in Florida as a kid. I think it was those adorable eyes and of course whenever I would see a Macaw I automatically assumed it would talk to me.
Sadly, some people buy a parrot in the hopes that it will mimic or carry on a conversation with the owner and other members of the household. The truth is, not ALL parrots will talk.
When I started out with this blog, we focused on lovebird care, and while some lovebirds do learn to mimic and talk, most do not. It is essential if you buy or adopt a bird, that you love the bird for who it is, not it’s talking ability.
Some folks have bought expensive breeds of parrots to find out that they never learned to talk and thus decide to give the bird away. I think people need to understand that a talker is only a PLUS in bird ownership, but certainly should not be the main reason that you acquire one.
Having stated that, there are ways you can improve the chances that you will get your bird to say a few words, or perhaps a lot more than a few.
Certainly, some breeds are known for being excellent talkers and you will learn this from doing your research, but even owning an African Grey or Indian Ringneck does not guarantee that the bird will talk. These are two breeds that are considered great talkers!
Where I bought my second bird, a Blue Quaker parrot, one member of their very knowledgeable staff told me she owns two African Greys and neither of them talk. This can happen but she loves them anyway.
Of course if you adopt a bird, there is pretty much a guarantee that you will know if the bird talks, however in some cases due to stress or shyness, they may stop talking altogether.
Work with Me
Spending quality time with your bird and teaching them words obviously increases the chances of your bird responding. There have been scientific experiments done with African Grey parrots that prove they are competitive and tend to obey and work better when they have a third party to compete with.
If you have someone in your family that you can converse with in front of your bird, they may start to compete for your attention and try to talk to you.
I have been showing my new Quaker Parrot every YouTube video I can find of owners talking to their Quakers and of course the Quaker talking back to them. I have noticed, first and foremost, that my Quaker seems to love watching (or at least he is mesmerized) and then tries to attempt talking. After all, he doesn’t want to get shown up by a YouTube parrot does he? HAHA not!
Just work with your bird and remember they have a rather short attention span, so training sessions should be kept to a 15-20 minute interval and use treats and positive reinforcement to reward them. For instance a –GOOD BIRDIE— works well or whatever they happen to like. Positive reinforcement is the key here.
The main idea here is that if your parrot talks, that is fantastic! You can show him off to your friends or just have laughs with the bird and your family. However, do not buy a parrot for the sole reason that they will talk to you. Not only will you be disappointed, but it’s not fair to the bird either. These are wild animals that we are bringing into our world.
Yes I realize most are bred in captivity at this point in time, but their instincts are still primitive and they were not born to speak our language. They do it because they are social by nature and most love bonding with their favorite people.
There are some great books on Amazon that cover parrot training and YouTube videos as well to teach your bird to respond to certain cues including talking.
And until next time …Cheers and Happy Parroting!