All the time, parrots are fascinating people with their incredible ability to mimic human speech, and in some cases, understand it as well. If you want to teach your pet bird to talk, however, it's important to remember to encourage your bird to repeat appropriate words and phrases that will appeal to all who are lucky enough to hear him. Read on to learn about ways that you can build and shape your bird's vocabulary to be the best that it can be.
When teaching your bird how to talk
, it's important to remember that parrots learn speech much the same way that young children do, and some tend to repeat nearly everything they hear. Even if they are only exposed to a word or phrase a couple of times, it can be possible for parrots to mimic the sound almost perfectly. Some exceptionally gifted parrots, such as African Greys
, have even been known to imitate their owners' voices with astounding accuracy, making it even more embarrassing if the bird learns an ugly word or two. It pays to watch your mouth around a young bird who is just learning to mimic speech!
Stay away from "catch phrases."
It's always cute when talking birds
chime in with something to say, but you want to make sure that what you teach them won't get old or annoying after a while. Some parrot species have been known to live for upwards of 80 years, so you should make an effort to teach your parrot words and phrases that you can live with for a long time. Avoid trendy slogans and phrases that could become dated. It is much better to teach your bird to repeat words and phrases that will stand the test of time without getting on your last nerve!
There are many things that will remain constant in your bird's life, and these are often the best sources for inspiration when trying to decide on the types of words and phrases that you'd like to add to your bird's vocabulary. Your bird's name
, your own name, and the names of friends, other pets, and family members are obvious choices. Some ambitious bird owners also opt to teach their pets important information like addresses and phone numbers in the event that the bird gets lost. Just remember not to expect too much of your pet -- some parrots do not have the ability to mimic speech as well as others. Start out small when teaching your pet and don't get frustrated if it takes a while for your bird to start talking.
Choose songs/music wisely.
If you do choose to try to teach your bird to sing or whistle a song
, be sure to choose your musical selection wisely. For example, it probably wouldn't be very fun to have a bird that sings a commercial jingle over and over again for the next few decades. It's best to select songs that are "classics." Popular choices for many bird owners are nursery rhymes like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", and various oldies from the 50's and 60's.
Avoid alarming phrases.It's never a good idea to teach a bird to use alarming language in any context, if for no other reason than the fact that some parrots are able to so closely mimic the human voice that people could become frightened by the bird's outbursts. Think about it: what would your neighbors think if they heard a voice like yours screaming "help" or "fire" coming from your house? Even if it seems like a humorous thing to do, there is a genuine risk that your bird could incite a fair level of panic given the right situation. It's better to make sure that language like this stays out of your bird's vocabulary.