Felix the African Grey Parrot sitting on his tree stand perch.

Do Parrots Talk?

Do Parrots Talk?

Companion parrots already have real opinions.

Felix ran his 2020 Presidential Campaign on, "I know where you think you are going."  This Parrot Slogan reverberated throughout the country, striking nerve endings, as well as truth. Parrot truth. Which isn't human truth. Because human's truth isn't truth, it's opinion filtered through personal experiences leaving the equation unsolvable by another human. We read each other's life algebra, and smile. We nod. We acknowledge each other's confusion. Grateful that we aren't them. Herders, or homo sapiens, can't flock. And flocking birds are too smart to consider herding.

Parrots learn speech like human children. Context application.

Yes. Parrots also use opinions before using words or sounds to express them. Felix will make the sound of a door knocks, that is a no. Hard pass. Nope.

Run it by the bird first. Run a simple thought experiment. What would a parrot think about what you are thinking about doing, asking, or offering? And if it fails the test of parrot truth, adjust. Adjust because measuring human ideas against a sincere flocking thinker will keep you inside the rails. Is your idea honest? Does it do no harm? Does it consider others in your flock? Does it provide a benefit? These are what concerns a companion parrot.

"Things to Run by the Parrot." A notebook I designed. I use it to remind myself to remember their opinions. I jot down ideas. To run every word I write by the parrot. In one fashion or another.

Felix has decided he likes being referred to as "The Birdie".

"See the Birdie?"

"Yes, Felix, I see you!"

"See the Birdie?"

"Felix! You are awesome, how can I miss you?"

"See. The. Birdie?"

I realize I've missed a lesson identical to the lesson I missed the first three months he lived with us. Naming conventions. Parrots speak in the third person. It saves time.


"I SEE the birdie, Felix! Hello, Birdie. Birdie, do you want some tea?"

*lip smacking sounds*

I serve warm turmeric tea, holding his yellow cup at the correct height and distance from his beak. This cup is the one yellow thingy he accepts. Felix chews his tea.

He fills his bottom beak like a cup. Chews. The tea overflows creating a large drop dangling under his bottom beak. He then dips his dead a bit forward. The drop's edge crosses the end of his open beak, he tips his head backup. The drop hanging is now smaller leaving behind a chewable amount in his mouth. I wait for him to work through the drop.

"How's the tea, birdie?"

He whistles one low, slow, soft note. Elongated as a human would say, Mmmm. He creates another drop to drip. His eyes turn almond shape. When an African grey parrot's eyes go almond shape, they are the happiest birdie.

"See the birdie?"

"Yes, Felix. I see and understand the birdie, not as quickly as you would like at times."

He delivers his george-bush-chuckle.

Parrots can talk. They can make a joke. Get a joke. Provoke a joke. Companion parrots do more talking than given credit for because their talking involves more than human talk. 

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


  • Awesome Kathy! Very insightful. I know this to definitely be true about them speaking in context.

    Donna Spencer on

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