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When Polly is in Charge
January 17, 2009 8:19 AM   Subscribe

"The animals all think he's Margaret when he speaks. He loves ordering them around and commanding them – it's very surprising. He's not frightened or scared of them at all."
"Parrot mimics owner's voice to boss around her other pets "
posted by davidstandaford (43 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
If only the parrot's owner had one of those miniature helper horses then things would really get exciting...
posted by davidstandaford at 8:24 AM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


The article says that this woman has 3 dogs, a parrot, and a cat. It sounds like she is running a domestic petting zoo.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 8:32 AM on January 17, 2009


My cat would have fixed that problem. For one thing, she could give a flying fuck about what humans say so a mimicking parrot would not bother her. For another, an African gray parrot would be an appealing lunch item.
posted by birdherder at 8:37 AM on January 17, 2009




would´ve been excellent to include a video in that article...
posted by nzydarkxj at 8:47 AM on January 17, 2009


Very disappointed there was no audio.
posted by e40 at 8:47 AM on January 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like how she calls him cheeky for swearing, because that probably means she has a pretty salty mouth herself. That household = Doctor Doolittle as directed by Guy Ritchie.
posted by maudlin at 8:51 AM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


This story missed the real news. More remarkable than a parrot that can talk is a cat who listens.
posted by rokusan at 8:53 AM on January 17, 2009 [4 favorites]




This is pretty common.

We had a yellow-nape amazon who used to whistle for the dog, who would every time come bounding into the room, then confusedly nose around for a while trying to figure out who had called her. After she wandered off again the parrot would whistle for her again. The dog never tired of this or figured out she was being played.

If the dog didn't wander away on her own, the parrot would climb down from his perch, walk over to her and physically shoo her out of the room so the game could continue.
posted by ook at 9:00 AM on January 17, 2009 [13 favorites]


I use to house sit for a friend that had an African Gray. Those birds are amazing. He could imitate my friend getting the dogs out of the house, complete with friends voice and barking dogs. That bird was a blast, I tried to teach him to talk pirate but it never took.
posted by marxchivist at 9:02 AM on January 17, 2009


It's the plumber! I've come to fix the sink!
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:05 AM on January 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


Oh, yeah, and I totally got busted one time: we were all sitting happily around the dinner table and the parrot suddenly started mimicking the sound of my sister crying for me to stop teasing her, which I had been doing all afternoon while our parents were at work.

Both I and the parrot were kind of jerks, now that I think of it.
posted by ook at 9:08 AM on January 17, 2009 [10 favorites]


On the subject, vaguely -- does anybody remember a short story about a guy who lives alone with his bird, and his bird starts staring at something he can't see, and then starts imitating it, and he realizes whatever the bird is seeing is something grotesque and idiotic and in love with him?

I read that story when I was a kid and it scared the shit out of me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:15 AM on January 17, 2009


Astro Zombie, I think I know what story you're talking about, but I can't remember the title of it. Creepy though.

This parrot though? Very awesome. He gets the cat to listen to him.
posted by sandraregina at 9:22 AM on January 17, 2009


It's still the Ginger cartoon to me.
posted by cogneuro at 9:30 AM on January 17, 2009


Someone needs to find what Astro Zombie's story is called, that summary has tickled my weird fiction button.
posted by billypilgrim at 9:43 AM on January 17, 2009


Astro Zombie, I think I know what story you're talking about, but I can't remember the title of it. Creepy though.
I used to see this on The Electric Company when I was a kid.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:44 AM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Parrots are jerks.
posted by Harry at 9:46 AM on January 17, 2009


The Flying Bisketi Monster sez: When U die. U return as a parrot. A retarded parrot.
posted by doctorschlock at 9:54 AM on January 17, 2009


My cat does that "try to speak bird" thing all the time. I'd love to know why. My wife suggested that it's supposed to be a lure, but given a cat's ability to wrap it's head around pointing (on par with my ability to retract my fingernails) I have trouble believing that it would ever occur to them to try to lie to the birds.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:57 AM on January 17, 2009


I love hearing parrots that have learned to mimic the ringtone of the phone in their house exactly, and seem to delight in tormenting their owners with fake rings.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:58 AM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


His favourite games [sic] is calling out to a cat named Shadow.

Is there an animals division in the Darwin Awards? This would not seem to be a successful evolutionary strategy.

And yes, I hope the first one to find Astro Zombie's story will let us know what the title is.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:10 AM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]




Don't ask me how I remembered that. Well, I suppose it is pretty unforgettable...heh.
posted by aquafortis at 10:41 AM on January 17, 2009


It's just an old joke, kids.

Little Old Lady goes away, plumber comes by. Plumber knocks on the door, parrot says "who is it?"

Plumber says, "It's the plumber. I've come to fix the sink."

Parrot says "Who is it?"

Repeat as many times as your audience can stand it, to set up the joke. End with the plumber getting so exasperated he has a heart attack and falls down dead on the doorstep.

When the LOL comes back, she screams in horror and says, "My God! Who is it?"

Parrot says, "Its the plumber. He's come to fix the sink."
posted by yhbc at 10:43 AM on January 17, 2009


Parrot loves cat.
posted by nickyskye at 10:54 AM on January 17, 2009


I had an African Grey for a long time. Once, I went away for the weekend and had a friend come over and take care of the bird. One time the phone rang while he was there and he naturally let the answering machine pick up. Turned out it was his girlfriend trying to reach him. He wasn't familiar with my machine, so it took him a while to figure out how to shut it off.

I came home to a wonderfully amusing recording of my friend fumbling around with the machine, occasionally cursing, and in the background my bird mercilessly mocking him (in my voice): "Dork! You're a dork! Hahahaha! What a dork! You dork!"
posted by trip and a half at 10:54 AM on January 17, 2009 [13 favorites]


I for one welcome our . . .

ah fuck it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:09 AM on January 17, 2009


I love hearing parrots that have learned to mimic the ringtone of the phone in their house exactly, and seem to delight in tormenting their owners with fake rings.

When we moved to the US from Europe, my husband and I stayed for the first few days with a friend who lived in a tiny studio apartment with an African Grey. Still jet lagged, at 4 am we'd tiptoe round our host sleeping on the couch to use the bathroom, and every time the parrot would greet us with an authentic and ear-piercing smoke alarm screech.
posted by Dragonness at 11:11 AM on January 17, 2009


That crow and kitten thing is kind of unbelievable
posted by empath at 11:34 AM on January 17, 2009


More of that Cat/Crow couple.
posted by empath at 11:42 AM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


My cat would have fixed that problem. For one thing, she could give a flying fuck about what humans say so a mimicking parrot would not bother her. For another, an African gray parrot would be an appealing lunch item.

My parents have an African gray and three cats (along with two dozen pigeons and a dog). I have my doubts that a cat could take a gray. The birds are not only pretty good sized, but very fierce. Never, ever stick your hands near an unfamiliar bird. When they want to be aggressive it's pretty easy for them to take that beak and tear a chunk out of your finger.
posted by sbutler at 12:02 PM on January 17, 2009


I think the bigger story here is the violent and repugnant fashion craze that's sweeping the land. 10% of the population will soon be in need of an emergency butt transplant.
posted by cloeburner at 12:30 PM on January 17, 2009


My cat would have fixed that problem. [...] For another, an African gray parrot would be an appealing lunch item.

I suspect an African Grey, like most other decent sized parrots, would fuck up a cat real good.

Anyway, while I thought it was cute, I was a little less impressed by the parrot/owner age. A ten year old parrot with a 65 year old owner? The parrot will most likely outlive the original owner by thirty or forty years.
posted by rodgerd at 12:38 PM on January 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


One of my birds learned to mimic the sound of my roommate blow drying his hair. Saddest sound ever! A sound that from a machine is just an ignorable whine becomes a lonely heartbreaking sigh when it comes out of a little bird. I ended up moving the little dude's cage into my room so he'd be happier and I wouldn't have to wake up to that melancholy song anymore.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:56 PM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Barney huh?

I was ready to lay odds the bird's name was Cheney.
posted by timsteil at 1:29 PM on January 17, 2009




My friend had a starling that would call the dogs and then LAUGH at them when they came running in to the room.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:40 PM on January 17, 2009


More of that Cat/Crow couple.

Oh, man, it was positively priceless when they showed the cat ambush the crow from behind a corner, and it freaked out and dropped what it was carrying in its beak.
posted by marble at 3:40 PM on January 17, 2009


I was ready to lay odds the bird's name was Cheney.

We have a very territorial Anna's hummingbird in the back garden (it won't let any other hummingbirds near the feeders), so I named it "Cheney" since my original name for it -- "Asshole" -- was a bit too crude.

We can recognize the calls of the Annas, so when we go on walks, my husband will sometimes stop and say "I hear a Cheney!"

I had a friend who had a cockatoo, and when bored it would sing to itself -- weird arias and strange songs. It could also imitate the turn indication of the AC Transit buses (there was a stop outside the house). BEEDEEBEEDEEBEEDEE....
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:22 PM on January 17, 2009


All of this bird imitation talk reminded me of this segment I saw about lyrebirds. Camera shutters, chainsaws, music from the radio, you name it.
posted by Defenestrator at 8:04 PM on January 17, 2009




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