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Why do they talk?


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So I was reading in another thread about peoples greys who have impressive vocabularies and I couldn't help but compare them to Dorian. He has basically stopped learning new words and phrases, although the occasional new sound still pops up. (I was watching a cockatoo video for like a minute in the same room as Dorian and he picked up THAT sound right away! sigh). Anyway, I was thinking, in the old house Dorian and I occupied the basement of my Dad's house, and I would have to go upstairs often to take care of dad. Dorian would go into vocal calisthenics until I was back in the basement with him. That house was much larger than my new home. In this home, if I'm in the office, he's in the office, if I'm in the living room, he's in the living room. He's rarely more than a few feet from me. It's clear that he mainly "uses his words" to call me to him, and now he doesn't need to use them. Is he unusual in this?

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If Phenix is any example, then yes it's normal. He goes thru phases that are at least partly connected to the weather & seasons. Then of course there are whatever reasons known only to his inscrutable little self.


And I can see where Dorian especially living "on your shoulder" wouldn't bother vocalizing as much. Also, being an only fid, he doesn't have anyone to wind him up but you.


I know people who wish their birds would 'shut up' are going to cringe when I say this. But my flock is never that loud to begin with & I don't like it for them too stay too quiet for too many days on end. Some how, it doesn't feel happy...? It just doesn't feel "natural" to me.


:cool::cool:So when things seem too quiet for too long we get rowdy!!!:cool::cool: I get them going either by teasing everyone loudly or singing "sea shanties" or challenging everyone to a whistling contest where I go "Wooo Hoooo" a lot because I can't whistle worth beans.


I can't justify it or anything. But it feels like a bonding thing & everyone seems a little perkier afterwards.

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A lot of Alfie's vocalizations are contact calls. If I'm in the room with him (which is whenever I'm at home and not asleep) then he's a lot quieter. He will make the odd noise and occasionally says the odd word - but most of the time it's when I'm out of the room. We had a bit of a 'hello' back and forth earlier. Whenever I said anything other than hello, he stopped. As soon as I said hello to him, he would say hello back. But normally he's pretty quiet when I'm in the same room. He also occasionally practices "what noise does a duck make" when I'm in the room- usually prompting me to say it. He can only say "what noise" then quacks like a duck. But he's still trying to learn the whole phrase.


Alfie isn't a big talker though. He prefers noises. So most of his vocalizations are beeps, chirps, clicks and whistles (with the odd duck, chicken and dog noise thrown in). And I usually hear these when I'm away from the room.

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I have two greys, a TAG, female (8) and a CAG, male (6). My CAG is twice as large as the TAG. They are not close. The TAG is the boss. They both talk. My CAG also sings a little. The words, phrases and sounds are ones they have heard before: from me, my family, TV and alarm system. They are mimics. All greys/parrots are mimics.


My 20-year-old Lilac Amazon I have owned only for a couple of months. She does not talk. I have no information on her only that she is female and belonged to a older lady who could no longer care for her. She is a gently zon.

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And genes.


This is my own personal theory, take it or leave it lol.


The gene pool in any one given area of a breeding population gets shallow at points. Lets just say were talking about the US.


Domestic breeding leads to imbreading, over and over again.



I have a medical degree (Human) but in talking with the avian doctors in the Middle East, they have told me, and it makes sense, that wild Greys have a deep genetic gene pool and contributes to the intelligence or in human terms the IQ of the Grey.


Again, please dont take this as fact, its just what I have been told, and it makes the theory plausible.


So in summation, I think the deeper the gene pool, the more intelligent the grey is.



I am quite sure there are many other factors as to why some speak more then others, Im not sure anyone has ever done a real scientific study on the subject.



I can tell you this, Im quite sure Sukei came from the Congo, based on the legal crap I went through with the CITES folks in Kuwait, and he talks in 4 different languages.



Thats my two cents on the mater.



I do want to say this, even if you grey does not talk, it doesn't make them any less of a friend, or special. They have the ability to talk, you just may have to work harder to get them to do so.

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Phenix is wild caught. He comes from a similar household. It's safe & familiar, "stagnant" & pretty quiet, all in all. He's no spring chicken anymore. I only know he's older than 35. He doesn't have the exuberance of youth or the need to be loud & proud anymore. He knows how to get my attention w/w/o making a sound. Sometimes he just rings his damned bell & his devoted servant comes running. What else is there to say? Literally from his perspective.


IQ in the extreme lower range would effect a critter's ability to vocalize meaningful sounds. Higher IQ might possibly suggest how efficiently it could learn to communicate in a way to make sounds meaningful to others. But there are too many other factors to say anything very definitive beyond that. Emotional well being, age & health just to mention a few.


The Wild Bird Conservation Act has only been in place since 1992. Prior to that, there was a very robust infusion of wild genes being continuously introduced into the US breeding population.


Also many of the survivors of the wild trade who would not have been able to adapt as companion parrots would logically have continued to become a free or cheap source for the domestic breeding pool for a good many years beyond the ban.


Of course there are pockets of inbreeding. But I'd question how widespread they really are. Since being bred in captivity doesn't actually make a breed domesticated, I'd also question how many species of parrots would even be considered domesticated, in the true sense.


Given the life span of a Grey could realistically reach 70 yrs or more, the first generation of those genome crosses are still being hatched & very likely will continue for the next decade or more. There should be very many generations yet to come before we actually approach a stagnant gene pool, aside from unscrupulous & oblivious breeder's offspring.

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Through having read so many versions of why Parrots pick up our language when they want to I have decided that it helps them bond with us as their flock. behaviorists have noted that in the wild they may join a different flock than they were raised in and have to learn the new sounds of the new group. They have also been observed imitating primates in the Forrest to get them to move away from an area they want to feed in. It has been years since AI read all of this information so I cannot remember the reference sources but it makes sense to me.

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Timber rarely uses language when I am in his line of sight. When I am upstairs, he chatters away which sounds like much the same situation you have with Dorian. When I am out of sight, like in the bathroom or in another room where he can't see me, he will vocalize. While we are together, he whistles and makes his other range of sounds, but he saves language for trying to get me to come to him it seems. When several of us are in the room with him, he will sometimes use language also, but it seems to be an attention getting thing. Like if we are talking to each other and not to him, he will try to get in the conversation and draw attention to himself. Wish I could read his mind!

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Kya uses language all the time, but that was not the case when we first took him in a year ago. Of course, we also have the sound effects non stop, too. He isn't a loud boy, thank goodness, because our house is not large. But he certainly has a lot to say! He loves responses from us, and both my husband and myself always try to respond to everything he says. We can tell that it makes him happy that we are so attentive - he fluffs up and carries on some more.


He has only recently started using language when out of the cage. For a long time, he just wanted to check everything out and snoop around the house, and would do the occasional whistle or sound effect. Now, he's worried about where our little dogs are when he's out, and taunts them by calling for them both by name. (They can't come because they are in a spare bedroom behind a locked door.) I don't know why he thinks he needs them in the room, other than the fact that he was exposed to a Sheltie and never separated from her in his previous home. Her name was Farrah, and when we first got him, he thought "Farrah" just applied to every dog. Now, he has learned both of our dogs names and frequently asks them if they need to poop. Being dogs, they then run to me and want to go outside, even if they were just out 10 minutes ago. (Thanks, Kya!)


He is only 11 years old. I have heard a lot of people say their greys decrease their language usage as they age. My husband and I so enjoy interacting with Kya, I would miss it so much if he wasn't as interactive with us. It wouldn't change the way I feel about him one bit, but I love the daily banter.


When we have company, he will clam up until they have been here for awhile. Oh, he will say "Hello" when they come through the door, and "What?" if they walk near his cage, but he makes sure everyone is good and settled in before doing his stand up comedian gig. If it is a stranger that he has never met (which is a rare occasion), he will not talk their entire first visit. But he never takes his eye off of them.


When we first got him, he literally threw himself into a fit every time my 5 year old grandson came in the door - we were warned that he did not like children in advance. Several months ago, my grandson came in to spend the night, and Kya didn't have a melt down. Just like that, he decided it was okay. He has since decided that he needs to get down on the bottom of his cage so he is closer to where my grandson is playing. And, he talks and giggles to my grandson in a child's voice, one that we never heard until he flipped the kid switch that day. They have belching and farting contests and both their laughter fills the house. My grandson never approaches his cage, and Kya knows he has to wait until I get Cooper to bed to come out. I am so happy with the changes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I said it before Ill say it again, they have the same temperament as humans, plus the ability to put a good size hole in your hand LOL, they have moods, they like certain colors, they like attention, they give love, and they withhold it.


Not enough room to post all the similarities........

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