Anyone who lives with an Eclectus can tell you how loud he or she can get when they want their voice to be heard. My male eclectus, Pepi can be heard about 2 streets away when he really gets going. Fid, my Blue and Gold Macaw is learning to talk; I’ve been discovering the joys of owning a bird that can be heard from the local shops. That’s definitely more than 2 streets away! My list of neighbours to bribe (to get them to put up with the noise) is growing.
As it turns out, one of the neighbours over my back fence hasn’t been so easily pacified. Ironically, I don’t like these neighbours and never have. It’s ironic because I don’t like them due to my hatred of their noisy dog. It’s one of those little ones that yaps all the time. I hate it because my lorikeets love to imitate it. It drives me nuts. It never ever stops.
Personally, my dogs are well trained. They’ve done all sorts of doggie classes and I don’t have the endless barking problems that some people have. Every now and again though, they hear the yappy dog and go to respond. When they hear the order ‘shutup’ they don’t bark back. The problem with that is that Fid has now heard me say “Shutup” and he has attached it to the cue of a barking dog. Do the math. With a yappy dog over the back fence, how often do you think he yells “Shutup” at it?
Well, the birds were in their outdoor aviaries enjoying some of the lovely weather we’ve had here lately. I was doing the endless housework that happens when you have galahs that prefer household items on the floor rather than on a bench or shelf. I suddenly became aware that my birds were being louder than normal. I went out to investigate. It seemed Fid was the main culprit.
The yappy dog owner was screaming over the fence that she was going to report me to the council for my noisy dogs. Fid was happily replying “SHUTUP!!!” He loves it when someone yells back. I quickly worked out what was going on.
My neighbour can’t see into my yard through thick trees and bushes at our back fence. She was livid with me for abusing her dog for making noise. Except I hadn’t been telling her dog to shutup, it had been Fid. She had no idea she was having an argument with a parrot. So I told her it was the parrot.
“Don’t you try that on me! I heard you laugh when I got angry!!!!” It would seem Fid’s laugh is also loud. I tried to explain that to her. She didn’t believe me and went right off her head at me. As if cued, Fid roared with laughter. She got angrier with me, telling me that her anger wasn’t a source of hilarity. If I thought her dog barking was a problem, she was going to return the favour and get me into so much legal trouble with the council for my own noisy dogs that I’d never re-surface from the paperwork.
It was at this point, that the noise got too much for my eclectus parrot. He decided to join the argument. He started to sing “La La La La” at the top of his lungs. My neighbour interpreted this as me not listening to her argument. This was the kind of rude thing that a child would do; it was the equivalent to sticking your fingers in your ears and humming loudly instead of listening to someone. My neighbour was not impressed and she would not believe me that it was now the other parrot. She yelled some more threats about going to the council (while Pepi continued to “La La La” and stormed back inside, slamming her back door. Fid roared with laughter again (loudly enough for her to hear).
Well, I’m not so worried about my local council. Like I said, my dogs are well-trained and I’m not going to have much trouble proving it. I’m more worried about the local council hearing the story and finding it so funny that my abusive bird winds up front page of the local paper. Making my neighbour look stupid publicly would not make for friendly fence relations.
Fortunately, my neighbour’s husband has stepped in to prevent council involvement. Apparently he often talks to my birds, so he believes it was a parrot yelling at his wife. He thinks it’s funny that my birds yelled at his wife. His wife meanwhile is still livid that my birds have made her look stupid. How dare my birds laugh at her? I’m not sure I’m going to win that one! I have to admit I’m half-dreading this year’s neighbourhood Christmas party. I have to add one more neighbour to the list of people that “accidentally” want to spill their drink over me. Sigh.
So that’s the latest bird talking disaster at my place. Now I’m asking to hear yours. I’m reasonably sure that I’m not the only person on the planet who has obnoxious birds that enjoy getting their human into trouble!
I’m putting together a column for the updated version of the Birdtricks.com monthly magazine “Parrot Magic”, that will be released early next year. The column is based on talking bird stories. I need your help. I’m asking people to email me their funny bird talking stories so that I can put them together for inclusion in the column. If you have a funny story, I’d love to hear from you. If you have a bird talking story that you’d like to see in the birdtricks.com magazine “Parrot Magic”, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you want to teach your bird to talk so that you can have neighbours randomly hate on you too, check out the “Talk on Cue” course.
And if you want to make fun of Pepi as he was learning to sing, check out this video:
Mel Vincent works as an animal rehabilitator out of Australia.