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Speaking in context

Want to teach your bird talk? Learn about and discuss methods for training birds to vocalize and mimic different sounds on cue.

Speaking in context

Postby zazanomore » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:47 pm

When Einstein talks, he really isn't speaking in context. He just mimicks the phrases he's heard me say.

However, in the past week he has learned to do a trick/sound in context.

I've always told him "give me a kiss", then I kiss him with a dramatic kissing sound. But now, when I ask him for a kiss, he puts his head on my lips, and we do the kiss together. He doesn't make the kissing sound at any other time.

Cockatiels are such smart birds, it's really sad that they are often over looked.

Do your birds ever say or do something in context? Do they say good morning only in the morning, or good night only when it's night time?
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Re: Speaking in context

Postby kaylayuh » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:50 am

Cheney Bird told me to "stop it" the other day when I was bothering him. My boyfriend heard it so I know I didn't imagine it, but he hasn't done it again. I also haven't heard him say anything else, so I've been second guessing whether or not he actually told me to stop it or if he made an odd sound that just sounded like it.
"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
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Re: Speaking in context

Postby Vikki » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:21 am

The night I brought Sebastian, my Harlequin, home from the rescue I had been walking around with him on my arm and before I left, I had to go down to the basement to get things out of the cage where he had been living at the rescue. It was after "lights out" and the stairway down to the basement was dark. I didn't want to turn the light on because then all the birds who had just quieted down would start screaming again. At any rate, I headed down the dark stairway at which point Sebastian crawled up to my shoulder and leaned in to me really close and put his face against mine and said, in a whisper no less "It's dark, what's down here? Where are we going?" I actually answered him without realizing he was having a conversation with me and said "I need to get some of your things out of your cage before I take you home" and he said "ohhhhh"....like he understood. I'm telling you, birds are way smarter than we realize.
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Re: Speaking in context

Postby GlassOnion » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:54 am

Apple doesn't speak at all, and he probably never will. But he always makes a certain sound when I offer him food and he doesn't want it, and whenever we go into the kitchen, he makes the microwave beeps even though no one's touching microwave. Things like that. He doesn't talk, but he sure makes specific sounds in context.
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Re: Speaking in context

Postby entrancedbymyGCC » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:22 pm

Context is one thing, meaning another. For example "Stop it!" is a set of sounds that could be associated with a certain degree of agitation/conflict and used in that situation. Irene Pepperberg felt that Alex using "I'm sorry" was like this -- he new it was a set of sounds that are made in a situation where people are unhappy and that it could defuse the situation. That doesn't mean he truly meant he was sorry in the way a person using language would. I think there is a progression: mimicry -> context/labeling -> meaning. Ours seem to have some sense of context and use words and phrases consistently in certain situations, but neither uses labels and I would hesitate to to jump to a conclusion about meaning. But I'm a trained skeptic...
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Re: Speaking in context

Postby Vikki » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:24 pm

I was too, until I had that conversation with Sebastian. :)
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Re: Speaking in context

Postby Vicki5280 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:43 pm

entrancedbymyGCC wrote:Context is one thing, meaning another. . . . Irene Pepperberg felt that Alex using "I'm sorry" was like this -- he new it was a set of sounds that are made in a situation where people are unhappy and that it could defuse the situation.

I agree with Entranced. Most animals behave a particular way in a particular situation, humans can be included in that group. In short, context influences behaviors. However, (and I'm not exactly certain how to say this because I haven't completely thought it through yet. I'm giving it a go anyway,) I think we need to consider an animal's ability to integrate the vocalizations, context, and desired effect with the emotion and/or meaning associated with the words.

Using the above example, Alex used "I'm sorry" in an appropriate context, but was he aware that the words "I'm sorry" indicated he was having feelings of regret or remorse? And did he actually feel regret or remorse when he used the words? (Shoot, I struggle with this with my son all the time...)

So, in an effort to be "all objective" and putting my professional hat on, I say this: In my opinion, the bottom line is that I wouldn't be surprised if a large number of ALL bird vocalizations took place in the proper context. I'm just not sure that it means a whole lot.

Personally, I say this: That said, I'm still fairly certain my birds are smarter than my dogs. And I used to think my dogs were pretty smart. As a result, my dogs are becoming more than a little jealous of my fids. Bucky told Oscar "NO!" today. In context, and I'm pretty sure he *meant* it! As far as I'm concerned, that makes him pretty darn smart! :thumbsup:
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Re: Speaking in context

Postby coral » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:54 pm

Marty makes the cat calling noise when he sees my cats, he barks when the dogs bark, when I say gimmie a kiss he leans his beak towards my lips, he laughs whe. He bites or scares someone and trust me its an evil laugh, he says pretty bird when I compliment him, he makes a sound of pure joy she. I give him his favorite treat which is a peanut. So id say yea my smart little guy does use things in context :)
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Re: Speaking in context

Postby Imran Ahmed » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:10 am

Seems like all of you have your parrots vocalize a few words, stunts and calls. Very nice, but may i ask how did you get this done? My parakeet is among the most mimicing and vocal birds but still hasn't shown me so of his skills (lolz excuse me for being like this).

Also i want Jefee to whistle so any ideas. He's just two months old.
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Re: Speaking in context

Postby zazanomore » Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:03 pm

Imran Ahmed wrote:Seems like all of you have your parrots vocalize a few words, stunts and calls. Very nice, but may i ask how did you get this done? My parakeet is among the most mimicing and vocal birds but still hasn't shown me so of his skills (lolz excuse me for being like this).

Also i want Jefee to whistle so any ideas. He's just two months old.


He's still just a baby! My cockatiel didn't vocalize at all for months. Then suddenly, he started, and he hasn't stopped. I haven't really tried teaching him how to mimic, it's just something that happened.

Just wait, once he starts, you'll be wanting that quiet little bird again!
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