Look Who’s Squawking

by DFS-Pet-Blog on October 2, 2009

Kiwi likes his water in a glass (and under supervision, of course)

Kiwi likes his water in a glass (under supervision, of course)

**Guest post from Keith G.**

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” I’ve always enjoyed that phrase, first coined by Charles Caleb Colton in 1820 in his book Lacon, or Many Things in Few Words, addressed to those who think. I’m not sure that counts for Neil Diamond cover bands or Spam, though.

Parrots are masters of imitation, and can often be taught to do tricks or repeat phrases verbatim. Sometimes they just pick stuff up on their own, like when Kiwi became obsessed with my name.

Kiwi, my maroon-bellied male conure, has always found a way to “impress” me, although usually not with his intelligence. Whereas our Amazon, Contessa, has always been fairly bright and adept at learning new things, Kiwi has always seemed a few bird marbles short. You can imagine my surprise then when I found out he had learned to say my name.

Back when my wife and I were dating and living in Pennsylvania, I would trip down to her place in Bellwood on the weekends for a brain break from grad school. At that time, Kiwi and I were not yet on friendly terms, as he was still a little possessive of Felicia. Regardless, I would still give him the “Hey Kiwi” greeting that he enjoyed and often repeated back. He could also say “Hey Chicken”, which is better than (Joey from “Friends” voice) “How you doin’?” I suppose.

One morning my wife walked into the room where the birds were and was greeted with a chirpy “Hey Keith”. She was quite amazed – not because she was not, in fact, Keith – but because this was the first time Kiwi had EVER said anything other than “Chicken” or “Kiwi”. As it turns out, it would not be his last.

He now says “Hey Keith” virtually every time someone walks in the room. How he learned it? We’re not sure. What else will he learn? I’m skeptical… but I don’t appreciate the loud blue jays outside the window trying to teach him naughty things.

What do your birds say? Let me know by posting in the comments.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Keri T. October 2, 2009 at 4:00 pm

I haven’t given up on getting Kiwi to greet ME properly… not a big jump from Kiwi to Keith to Keri, after all.

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