Getting Parrots to Talk in Front of You

Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Duluth, Georgia Playing: Blue throated macaw "Jinx"

 I have some super exciting news to share! Jinx finally started talking! And it's so adorable if I do say so myself. His first "word" was mimicking my laugh, so I didn't totally count that and I'm the only person he won't really do it in front of. He only does it when he thinks no one is watching, but many people backstage have gotten it recorded via audio. It sounds JUST like me, it's kind of crazy.

Now, he isn't laughing in front me yet but literally two days ago he said, "Hello" to me. I was so surprised and happy that I tried to do a clicking sound with my tongue and gave him a pine nut. He didn't get it (my tongue-clicker was pretty pathetic if I'm honest) and afterward he offered me his wave and upside down bat for more treats... not realizing the talking got it in the first place.

But then the next day, I set him up for the same environment. I walked him back to the stage cage that Comet and Tusa were in backstage after preshow and brought him within sight of them maybe only a couple feet away. I bobbed my head around like he does when he's excited and waited for his response as I did. He began to join me in the head bobbing and jerking and his eyes began to pin.

As SOON as I saw his eyes pin I said, "Hello!" in the tone he and the Camelot Macaws say it in. He looked so excited he said it immediately back, "Hello!" he said at me. And back and forth we went, "Hello!", "Hello!" until I figured I shouldn't over-do it even though it's so darn cute. I got him to do it enough that even some of the performers and techs backstage got to hear it too. I was so happy!

When a bird finally talks in front of you it's soooo important to make it a positive thing so they keep doing it. I love parrot voices and I'm looking forward to hearing more from Jinx and teaching him new words and phrases. You can count on me trying to get this whole thing on video for you all to share with and enjoy with me! Wish me luck in that whole other endeavor!

Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.

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