Talking 

by Wilhelm Kiesselbach

 

 

Date last edited:  06/20/12


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since the beginning of time, people have had the primordial need to be able to communicate with animals. There are stories and fables about that, all the way back to ancient times. We know that there are those who try to communicate with dolphins, and then we hear about those "talking machines" with wings, little grey guys with a red tail. We hear about Alex who is probably ready to write his doctoral thesis and we decide that this is just what we always wanted...   A pet which is going to provide us with endless entertainment during the cocktail hour and, with a gleam in our eye and visions of a 1000+ word vocabulary, we buy our African Grey.

African Grey parrots may be reputed to be the most prolific talkers among all hookbills. That, however, does not mean that they will all talk. Getting a Grey for that reason is eminently unfair to him and us. There are many things which must come first... love, trust, compassion, understanding, patience and the absolute willingness to unconditionally accept your feathered kid for what he or she is, talk or no talk!

African Greys are highly intelligent and extremely sensitive. They have evolved over thousands of years as flock birds with the need to communicate in their very own language. They are also extremely independent and willing to prove it!  Don’t make the mistake of comparing their state of mind with the docility of a pet dog or cat. Their high level of intelligence is matched by their incomprehensible sensitivity and they will fathom your mood before you know it is upon you and they react to it. Consequently, if you enter your relationship with a Grey carrying the burden of expectations and if those expectations are not met, disappointment invariably follows. Don’t kid yourself, your feathered kid senses that. How would you react if someone would be disappointed in you?

Please don’t get a Grey because Greys "talk". Those are all the wrong reasons. He or she should mean more to you than that. Greys are wonderful, charming and loving companions once they give you their trust and love. Interaction between a pet bird and his or her care giver should never be limited in any way ~ your disappointment when he fails to meet your expectations may effect your entire relationship and, he or she may never say a single word.

 

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