Wild birds in Oz are picking up English from escaped pet birds

Across parts of Australia, reports have been pouring in of strange voices chattering high in the treetops — mysterious, non-sensical conversations in English. But while this phenomenon is certainly quite odd, its explanation isn’t paranormal. It turns out that escaped pet birds, namely parrots and cockatoos, have begun teaching their wild bird counterparts a bit of the language they picked up from their time in captivity — and, according to witnesses, that includes more than a few expletives.

Jaynia Sladek, an ornithologist from the Australian Museum, says that some birds are just natural mimickers, able to acquire new sounds based on things they hear around them. For birds kept as pets, these sounds tend to mirror human language — but that influence doesn’t cease even after said birds escape or are released back into the wild.

Once back in their natural environments, these chatty ex-pets eventually join with wild birds who, in turn, start picking up the new words and sounds. The remnants of that language also eventually gets passed along to the escaped birds’ offspring, much like it does for humans…

The next part we have to wonder and worry about is – of course – have they been perpetuating an oral history of humans [or humanoids] previously keeping them as pets.

Or were the humans [or humanoids} the pets. Bwa-ha-ha.

Thanks, Ursarodina

3 thoughts on “Wild birds in Oz are picking up English from escaped pet birds

  1. Bird brain says:

    “Where Did That Cockatoo Come From?
    Birds native to Australasia are being found in Renaissance paintings—and in medieval manuscripts. Their presence exposes the depth of ancient trade routes.” https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/07/05/where-did-that-cockatoo-come-from
    “Sydney’s crafty cockatoos master suburban bin diving
    Study in the journal Science says the gregarious birds mostly learned new behaviors by observing their peers.” https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/23/crafty-cockatoos-master-dumpster-diving-in-sydney
    “It’s a five-stage process for the birds to open the bin lid, according to the study. The bird has to pry open the lid with its beak, twist its neck sideways and hop onto to the edge of the bin, hold it open with its beak or foot, walk along the rim, and finally flip the lid open.” https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/22/australia/cockatoos-trash-can-study-intl-hnk-scli-scn/index.html
    “Innovation and geographic spread of a complex foraging culture in an urban parrot” https://science.sciencemag.org/content/373/6553/456

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