Thursday, September 24, 2009

Who Wants a Parrot that Talks?

Everyone! Well, sometimes it seems that way. One of the popular requests I receive is for information on training a parrot to talk. The truth is there is no guarantee that you can get a parrot to talk. Otherwise we would think of great talking parrots as a dime a dozen and everyone would have one. You can be a great trainer, but part of the equation is the bird and its learning history.

If you are one of those people who has a parrot who is trying to copy sounds, all I can say is “Woohoo!” You have it easy. All you have to do is create the situations in which your bird is likely to make a few sounds, reinforce and then put the sounds on cue.

One of the parrots staying at my house for some training is a double yellow headed Amazon parrot, newly renamed “Wrigley” (Yes, Jackson and Joker have new names. Jackson is now Beni and Joker is Wrigley) Wrigley is already showing an interest in talking. One thing that helps is that my yellow naped Amazon parrot Delbert talks up a storm. So Wrigley hears Delbert’s phrases and sayings throughout the day.

This morning when Wrigley stepped onto my hand to come out of his cage he blurted out “How are you!” I must admit I had a little tingle in my stomach. It is exciting when a parrot starts to pick up sounds you like. And one of my training mantras is “if it happened once, it will happen again” I suspect I will be hearing a lot more of our Wrigley in the days to come.

Those of you who do have parrots that talk probably have noticed that they often get chatty when there is a loud continuous sound such as the vacuum cleaner or water running. This is a great way to encourage your parrot to vocalize so that you can reinforce sounds you like. Here is a little video clip of Wrigley practicing his various sounds with the vacuum running in the back ground.....and a slight interruption from Beni. Enjoy!

Barbara Heidenreich
Copyright Good Bird Inc 2009


pupsthetravelinglabrador said...

My quaker Parrot Mr. Pickles talks up a storm, he says nite nite, get in your bed, be right back, Hi mom, hi dad, what are you doing, Hi garth, be good, Pickle Pickle Pickle, so much stuff he is a riot!

S.K.Y. said...

Hi Barbara, Thanks for this post (and all your posts!). I'm one of the people who requested you write about this. We have a 2 yr. old CAG who started talking 10 mos. ago and already says about 100 words/phrases. However, none are on cue, and when I want to practice she clams up. I'm going to try the vacuum trick--I hadn't thought about it, but you're right about parrots talking more during ambient noise.

Anthony F. Lewis said...

Parrots can talk? Who knew? ;-)

Unknown said...

I am glad Sharon said he CAG is 2 and started talking 10 months ago. I thought my Fonzie would never start! He is 15 months and says only 3 things. Looks like his time scheduel isn't too far off. And yes, the vaccume makes him jabber. I think I may run it more often! Dotty