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    Thread: Ask me about parrots/Tell me about your experience with them

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      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      Ask me about parrots/Tell me about your experience with them

      So, I've known a few species, owned a few species, and read up on some others. I am specifically aware of their posture expressions, dietary requirements, cognitive abilities, how to train them, and one specific bird's personality.

      Ask me about parrots!
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      do parrots learn language differently from humans
      highlight some cool differences

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      Are there any parrots with similar puzzle solving ability to a crow.
      I've only met a parrot once, very intelligent and playful.

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      dutchraptor look at this

      Unbelievable Singing Parrot

      ***

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYmE...e_gdata_player

      ***(2:10) Over eleven million views...wow (!!!)

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      Quote Originally Posted by prostitution View Post
      do parrots learn language differently from humans
      highlight some cool differences
      It really depends how the parrot is being taught. Those who use operant conditioning are teaching the parrot like one would teach a dog to bark on command. You repeat at the parrot, reinforce it when it makes a sound, and increase the frequency of the reward in immediate conjunction with noise production similar to the word you wish the bird to repeat. BORING long term, but NECESSARY, just like in a baby's babble, to encourage that first step towards speech. Parrots have language capacities even in the wild, and multiple species (amazons and even lil' parrotlets) have been scientifically documented (that means peer-reviewed in Abraspeak) to giving their children distinguishable names while rearing. The reward can even be merely repeating the word; parrots get all hot from dat contact call.

      My parrot knows over 75 words now (even more that I cannot recognize, and likely understands many more that she has not taught herself to say), and can speak in small sentences. She uses them in context, at times in novel ways. For instance: I have 8 fishtanks, and one has shrimp (which my friends circle calls "shramp" for the lels) and is next to the ethernet cable. I was having connection troubles with the wireless the other week, and told my video chat partner I would have to connect elsewhere. While moving to the room with ethernet, my bird said "You like water? You like shramp!" She often says "Alex take-a bath" and "water!" along with water noises when I do water changes (as I look like I'm splashing around when I give her a bath). She understands that treats are food, and asks for specific needs (want treat! Play peekaboo! Wanna take-a bath! Play a-game (her first game, stuffed-animal tag)). I can give many more examples of her cognitive speech capacity. Instead of "yes" and "no" she knows question answer response, where she will ask "Want treat?" when she wants a treat, and says "You like treat" to describe me eating. She understands schadenfreude humor, among other forms (puns on common noises, words, turns of phrases). She flies to people on command. In the car, she will even say "make poop" when she needs to go (she is more comfortable using non-verbal cues to let us know when in the home), and she is very well-socialized.

      I can ask her "good morning?" and if she does not respond "goooooood morning," I'll ask her again later, or wait for her to ask "good morning?" herself, to which I respond "goooood morning!" with a bunch of little "goo morning," "mornin'" while I uncover her roost cage and bring her to her day cage.

      How did I do it? After she showed initial signs of speaking through operant methods, I started full-on immersion, as if she were a toddler, just speaking simple sentences when I did things around the house, when playing with her, when changing her food and water, when completing the change, etc. She is not only a learner, but a teacher. I should show you a goddamned video of how we play games, but I'd have to get her used to playing naturally with whatever prop the webcam/laptopcam is on nearby.

      Also, hint: scaffolding.

      I am also the parrot whisperer at my local pet store, and have handled larger birds such as blue-fronted amazons and cockatoos. The staff were very impressed that I knew how to untrain their goffin's within a matter of minutes (over two separate days) to refrain from perching on shoulders (shoulder-perching is a dangerous habit for any parrot, especially larger ones, even sweeties, as they can bite chunks of ear off to "warn" their human friend when startled). Well, at least, my shoulder.

      As far as the mechanics of speech aqcuisition... We have a larynx, they have... A completely different anatomy. It is hard for birds to say 'm,' 'l,' 'n,' noises, and very easy for them to say vowels and "w," "ch," "t," and "k." They do not learn like human babies, as in, they do not try to mimic our tongues and our lips and our jaws to learn, but rather trial-and-error, facilitated by extremely large striatial regions of the brain (with a small cortex... Different hardware used in completely different ways!).



      Quote Originally Posted by dutchraptor View Post
      Are there any parrots with similar puzzle solving ability to a crow.
      I've only met a parrot once, very intelligent and playful.
      Non-urban parrots (see Netflix: The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill for a cool 20-year-spanning-1-hour-ish documentary about urban parrots of San Diego) are often more neophobic than their urban cousins. I have seen parrots use their feet and beak to pull up a string to get a treat they couldn't otherwise reach at the end, and there are hundreds of forage and puzzle toys available for birds. Of course, any parrot nowadays will be handfed and from a breeder, so you will have to teach the bird how to explore these alien objects. Hint: scaffolding.

      I'm currently reading The Alex Studies, which goes over Irene Pepperberg's work and experimental design of her studies involving African Grey parrots. I have not reached the chapter on speech formation as of yet. You both should google "African Grey Alex" or "African Grey Pepperberg" or some such. You will find youtube videos abound (though this book speaks volumes more!).
      dutchraptor likes this.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      Wow abra that was incredibly interesting. Thank you for the detailed answer.
      I'll certainly take a look at the book, sounds very interesting.

      One day when I have the time to fully devote myself I might get once again get a crow, or maybe even a parrot.

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      I once had a coworker who had parrots, and he commented that it greatly limited his vacation away from home options. Unlike dogs or cats where one can ask someone else to take care of them, he said his parrots would not eat if anyone else tried to feed them. He was in the process of trying to teach his parrots to accept food from his grown up son, in part also because he was worried that likely the parrots would outlive him, and while his will stated the parrots would in such circumstances become his son's, he was worried that the parrots would not accept that.
      You may say I'm a dreamer.
      But I'm not the only one
      - John Lennon

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      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by dutchraptor View Post
      Wow abra that was incredibly interesting. Thank you for the detailed answer.
      I'll certainly take a look at the book, sounds very interesting.

      One day when I have the time to fully devote myself I might get once again get a crow, or maybe even a parrot.
      It would be a lot harder to get a crow, though maybe not in Ireland. From what I read on /an/, they are much harder to take care of than parrots. When I had roof access, I would summon my neighborhood crows with peanuts. 2-5 would usually come, until that damned squirrel figured it out.

      Quote Originally Posted by JoannaB View Post
      I once had a coworker who had parrots, and he commented that it greatly limited his vacation away from home options. Unlike dogs or cats where one can ask someone else to take care of them, he said his parrots would not eat if anyone else tried to feed them. He was in the process of trying to teach his parrots to accept food from his grown up son, in part also because he was worried that likely the parrots would outlive him, and while his will stated the parrots would in such circumstances become his son's, he was worried that the parrots would not accept that.
      That is a potential danger of having a one-person bird. Luckily, she was raised in a 4-bedroom apartment, so got plenty of interaction and handling from other humans at a crucial stage in her development. I've been away for two weeks from my bird, but my partner knows how to take care of her, and she's warmed up to him quite a bit in my absence.

      You could always give the bird copious amounts of vegetable treats, whole grain treats, and seeds/nuts to get it to eat while the owner is away. Still, social eating is huge in birds. I wonder if bird would eat if they saw videos of other birds eating? My bird likes watching birdy youtube with me...

      Also, you can test whether the bird is not eating, or merely not eating in the son's presence, by weighing the bird each morning. Also, did the son try to eat a similar-looking food (or any food, for that matter) in front of the bird? Was there a change in the bird's diet? Was the bird fed seeds or pellets?

      I would just try and take my bird with me if I traveled somewhere far for over a few weeks. She's a quaker, so is illegal in a few countries (for really stupid reasons I can explain if anyone asks). I'd have to land somewhere she was legal, and travel by foot or bike to try and get to a place she wasn't. Or something. Maybe put her in a nice handfed-parrot aviary for a few weeks, or find someone good with birds on the web. Who knows?
      Last edited by Abra; 01-23-2014 at 01:40 PM.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      Quote Originally Posted by Abra View Post
      It would be a lot harder to get a crow, though maybe not in Ireland. From what I read on /an/, they are much harder to take care of than parrots. When I had roof access, I would summon my neighborhood crows with peanuts. 2-5 would usually come, until that damned squirrel figured it out.
      Nope fortunately here in Ireland baby crows fall out of their nests all the time (or get pushed out). My family have had two in the past both of them orphans. When you get them from a small age they are essentially quite easy to handle but as joanna said about parrots, crows too get very attached to the owner and every time we left on holiday the crow would fly away for good.

      Our last crow was especially nice. For the first few months it can take some work teaching them how to do everything but then it gets really easy. Taking care is not so hard, teaching them tricks and what not might be more difficult then a parrot. I guess a baby crow might see you as it's parent or something making them easier to care for

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      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by dutchraptor View Post
      Are there any parrots with similar puzzle solving ability to a crow.
      I've only met a parrot once, very intelligent and playful.
      Tanimbar Corella - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      There are some nice studies.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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