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Teaching a bird to talk 101?

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

Teaching a bird to talk 101?

Postby Cali » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:36 pm

I just got my Senegal baby and I'm on a steep learning curve. Can anybody give me the very basics on teaching them to talk? Is it the same way you teach a baby- by talking to them and naming things?

Do you need to be consistent and use the same words over and over again so they will learn them? Like if you are going to say "Good morning" don't say "Hey birdie" the next day so they will eventually learn "Good morning." Or do they just pick up whatever they're going to pick up?

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Re: Teaching a bird to talk 101?

Postby laducockatiel » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:53 am

A good way to teach parrots to talk, is greeting them with a word e.g hello, hi etc. Always use this word when greeting him and he will soon learn it. It will probably take 1-2 weeks.

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Re: Teaching a bird to talk 101?

Postby MandyG » Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:35 am

There's no guarantee every bird will talk, especially senegals that aren't known for their speaking ability. The best way to try to teach them is to be consistant, speak to them often, and put emotion in your voice. Most birds pick up on 'Hello' first because they're excited when you come home, many people say that their heightened state of emotion encourages them to pick up on those words. Label items and events and be consistant with them (i.e. "Do you want an apple? Mmm, apple! That's a good apple! Do you like the apple?" or "Wanna come out? Step up! Good bird!").

My parrot always says "hello" when I open the door, "come in" when someone knocks, "wanna come out" when he sees me and he wants out, "step up?" or "wanna step up!" when I approach the door, etc.
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Re: Teaching a bird to talk 101?

Postby Cage Cleaner » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:49 pm

Birds talk because they wish to communicate with their flock, meaning you, in the same language you use. They are remarkable in being able to adapt this way. If you establish that the language of communication is talking by talking in their presence constantly, then it's more likely they'll be encouraged to try it.

Don't limit yourself to "hello" and "good bye". Just get in the habit of speaking and babbling at them as you hang out. Don't be afraid of looking like an idiot talking non-stop to a bird, either. It's pretty much inevitable.

Sometimes, especially when they're still learning how to talk, they won't speak when you are in the room, because you are already there. Some birds are more prone to speaking when no one is present, because they are calling out to you and trying to get you to come over. You could be around the corner, or you could simply not even be in the house. If you are lucky enough to just be around the corner, this is a good time to reward speaking by returning the call with the same word or whatever. Not only does it reinforce speaking, but it also discourages screaming. You are in essence replacing their normal contact calling with words.

Try to be animated when speaking to them because they tend to pick up inflections before mastering the actual pronunciations. Also, put words into contexts, and they'll understand better and probably be more inclined to pick it up as well. It's uncanny how capable they are of putting words into context. When my GCC came to me, he would lunge and say "don't bite" very firmly while puffed up and looking challengingly up at me. Later, when I taught him to "come here" when I tapped on the cage, he would learn to climb to the top of the cage instead and say "come here". Sometimes when he steps up, he'll say "good bird". When I smile, he'll sometimes mimic my laugh, which actually sounds really evil when he does it.

The most animated words are the ones they tend to find more enjoyable. So, don't swear around your birds, especially when you mean it, and are angry. Also, remember that if you baby talk to them, they'll learn the words in baby talk. I personally don't mind, as I think this is cute. I actually find birds that can speak in normal human voices a bit freakish, especially when they go at it non-stop. They'll also learn words in the voice that the speaker says to them. So, if a woman teaches it to say "hello", the bird will speak in a woman's voice, and vice versa with a man. This might not be clear with birds that cannot mimic well, though.
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Re: Teaching a bird to talk 101?

Postby nagelsan » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:50 am


our african grey was raised by a male, his wife didn't do anything with him, so i hear him talk with a mans voice all the time, and children voices.
Now, because i'm mostly home, he lookes at me sometimes and talk with my own voice! :gray:

My senegal doen't talk yet, she will be one year next week. :senegal:
she starts whistling different ways now, i talk to her all the time.
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Re: Teaching a bird to talk 101?

Postby Naurthon » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:35 pm

My Senegal doesn't speak. He was a rescue, and about 5 or 6 years old when I got him.

With my two other boys, they learn mostly from me repeating things over and over again. My Grey sings "how sweet it is to be loved by you", "I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning. Like a whirlpool it never ends", and "we all live in a yellow submarine", which I taught him just by repetition over time. Other phrases he's picked up from a single repetition: "brraaaaiiinns" (yes, I have a zombie parrot! LOL), "grrr...arrrg" from the end of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". (Oh yeah...and that one time daddy said a naughty word while playing computer games with Dante in the room. Dante picked that up instantly. Thankfully, he's dropped it.)

I'm teaching him to count from one to ten right now. In a week he's learned all the numbers except 4 and 7, but he doesn't always say them in order.

He has picked up a lot of other words that he hears my partner and I using, especially routine things like "breakfast is ready" and "mmm mmm mmm looks good".

I think your best bet is to just talk to your bird a lot and see what it picks up. Since my Senegal doesn't talk, I've started working with him just to respond with a whistle when I say hello. At least that way we'll be communicating.
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Re: Teaching a bird to talk 101?

Postby unie64 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:24 pm

hello my name is pauline i have a blue crown conure her name is mago
she says hello and what she mimic my finches she aslo can laugh growl she is very funny when she starts too laugh

my green cheeked conure who is kik has picked up magos laughing kiki says her name kiki

trying too teach mago good nite and good morning
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Re: Teaching a bird to talk 101?

Postby liz » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:46 pm

Welcome to the forum both of you.

I believe that they learn like children. They copy what they hear but then learn what it means. The same words used for the same thing begin to make sence to them. When they get control of the word they will learn to use it in other ways.

My first shock with rehome/rescue :amazon: Rambo was when I was calling our Lola dog. He helped me call. Then he turned to me and said "Lola not c'mere". Since then he has learned to use the word won't.
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