Trained Parrot BlogParrot Wizard Online Parrot Toy StoreThe Parrot Forum

Psychic Birds

Chat about general parrot care and parrot owner lifestyle. Bird psychology, activities, trimming, clipping, breeding etc.

Psychic Birds

Postby ColleenM » Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:22 pm

Twice, I've heard of birds being documented as having telepathy....

In a documentary, it showed a lady sitting in one room looking at pictures while her parrot in another room described what she was looking at.....

In a book ("Wesley the Owl") that I read, a woman raises a permanently injured baby barn owl. It comes times when he's older & his talons must be trimmed. She approaches him & his reactions show it will be too stressful. The next month she spends time with Wesley visualizing him peacefully getting his nailed trimmed. She then approaches him to do his nails & all he does is turn his head so he does haven't to watch!!

I never stopped being amazed by birds.

Have you heard of other such stories or had experiences yourself? It'd be interesting to try... :)
User avatar
ColleenM
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 12
Number of Birds Owned: 5
Types of Birds Owned: Umbrella cockatoo, Lesser Sulphur Cockatoo, Hyacinth Macaw, Moluccan Cockatoo
Flight: No

Re: Psychic Birds

Postby MissLady9902 » Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:27 pm

I read Wesley the Owl and it was a great book!
I have not personally experienced that but it's something i'm willing to try!
Cathy

Busy beaks are quiet beaks!

:senegal: - Noodle
:gray: - Marvin
User avatar
MissLady9902
Poicephalus
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 303
Location: Columbia, Mo USA
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: A Senegal and a Congo African Grey
Flight: No

Re: Psychic Birds

Postby macawlover2 » Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:07 pm

This may seem a bit "out there", but I've read and heard that parrots can see our auras, that's how good their eyesight is. They can tell when we're happy or frustrated, and it's pretty much impossible to lie to them because of this. This is why it helps so much to take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down if you're in a hurry and want your bird to step-up. I definitely see this with Oscar, my african grey. :gray: There's no fooling him! :lol:
User avatar
macawlover2
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 24
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Military macaw, Blue and gold macaw, and a congo african grey.

Re: Psychic Birds

Postby Michael » Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:34 pm

Actually there is nothing telepathic or supernatural about it at all. There is quite a rational explanation for why it may appear that parrots could read our minds.

For instance with Kili I have noticed that she will often jump the gun and do a trick I have mentally prepared myself to cue her just as I start to if not just before I utter the word or show the hand signal. This could appear telepathic but what actually happens is one of two things:

A) Survival bias
B) Reading body language

In the case of survival bias (which is probably the basis for all superstition), you only remember the times when the supposed action happened. For instance if I were practicing tricks with my parrot and she was not paying attention and doing the wrong ones, the one time she did the trick I thought of before I cued it would make me think it was telepathic when really it was pure coincidence and I did not even notice the 20 other tricks she did for no reason and at no particular timing. Doing tricks without being cued is often a way of a trained parrot to beg for food because they know those behaviors earn them treats. So if my parrot sees me holding the clicker and treats she might start doing random tricks before I could cue anything and since there are only about 5 cued behaviors she does, there's a 1 out of 5 chance she will get it on the first try. And if I ignored the first try and saw it by the second try then all the more likely. That's the survival bias or coincidence explanation.

The other explanation is that they may be picking up on our body language that we are unaware of. I cannot confirm this but I suspect it because I have often had my parrot perform a trick as I thought of it but before I could fully utter it and it was the right one. There is still a good chance that this is still really just coincidence but I may have to try to look into it a bit more. Perhaps I give off some pre cue signal that the bird can pick up on. Let's say for a particular trick, perhaps I moisten my lips before cuing that one or switch the treat from one hand to the other to free up a certain hand to cue it. The parrot may pick up on subtle pre-signals like that and jump the opportunity to do the trick. On the other hand it may just be catching onto a pattern such as cuing tricks in a particular order. If the parrot only knows 3 tricks, there's only so many orders you can cue them in, you know? But for this reason I try to be really random in cuing tricks and not thinking about them before I cue them. It often seems that if I spend time thinking about them, she gets them off before I do and once again that would most likely be because of pre-cue behaviors. So to avoid this and to have her really focus on the proper cues, I try to always cue the tricks in a spontaneous and random order instead of thinking it through ahead of time.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6150
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Psychic Birds

Postby Kathleen » Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:55 am

Animals are not capable of telepathy, there are much more logical explanations for this supposed phenomenon.

There is something called the Clever Hans phenomenon and it was a hoax named after a horse who lived in Berlin around 1900. The horse was claimed to have been able to complete mathematical calculations and would tap his hoof until he got the right answer. It was thought that the horse could not only understand human language, but could also understood mathematics. Eventually, Oskar Pfungst discovered that the horse was actually sensing involuntary physical cues (an unconscious physical response). There were many scientists who studied the horse and believed that there were no cues. Oskar Pfungst found that when the correct answer was unknown to anybody present, the horse didn't know it, and when the horse wasn't able to see who did know the answer, it responded with an incorrect answer. He debunked the phenomenon. The horse's owner and others were cuing the bird with their unconscious muscle movements. They were tense at the anticipation of the answer and the horse was able to observe this pattern. When the correct number of taps was achieved the trainer would relax which would be the signal to stop tapping. The horse was sooner perceptive of subtle physical cues rather than mathematics, telepathy or human language.(http://skepdic.com/cleverhans.html)

An example of this can be seen on youtube in the following video:

In this video, the dog taps its foot until it achieves the correct number of taps and its owner interrupts the tapping with a treat, clap, or other cue for ending. The muscle tension was a more subtle version.

I've also seen video footage of an African Grey parrot doing a vocalization for a math trick. The African Grey learned to mimic the word four and this vocalization was put on cue. The cue was the word three. A simple mathematical question was asked during a parrot show to an audience member and the object was to answer before the bird would. The questions would always end in three and have a correct answer of four because the bird would be cued to mimic the word four after hearing the word three and get a reward.

The belief that animals are capable of intellectual ability is an old concept. Humans often cannot sense the cues that animals do. For example, a dog doesn't actually understand he/she did something wrong if he/she destroyed something, and the look of guilt they have when you've caught them is their fear. They understand you are going to yell at them/punish them because they have great senses. (http://www.clickandtreat.com/webart29.htm)

"Unconscious cuing has even led to the belief in the psychic abilities of animals. James Randi relates the story of J. B. Rhine who declared that the horse Lady Wonder was psychic because she could answer questions by knocking over alphabet blocks (Randi 1995: 143). In Rhine's opinion, there was no trickery involved. He concluded that the only tenable hypothesis for the horse's abilities was that the horse was telepathic. Rhine's first test of Lady Wonder was in 1927. When he returned two years later, Rhine determined that the horse had lost its telepathic abilities in the interim (Christopher 1970: 21). Rhine's reasoning is an example of the false dilemma fallacy." (http://skepdic.com/cleverhans.html)
Kathleen
Amazon
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 621
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Flight: Yes

Re: Psychic Birds

Postby ColleenM » Fri Oct 23, 2009 7:34 am

I highly disagree with Michael & Kathleen..

First, a bird describing pictures that is owner is viewing in another room has nothing to do with survival or body language skills...

Also, just because one test with a horse proved as a hoax doesn't mean other such test & displays with other animals are fake... A parrot is much more intelligent than a horse. After reading the book about Alex, the African Grey, she proved a parrot is as intelligent if not more than a dolphin or a monkey... Alex did not mimic... He proved over & over he understood a word's meaning.
User avatar
ColleenM
Parrotlet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 12
Number of Birds Owned: 5
Types of Birds Owned: Umbrella cockatoo, Lesser Sulphur Cockatoo, Hyacinth Macaw, Moluccan Cockatoo
Flight: No

Re: Psychic Birds

Postby MandyG » Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:19 am

Kathleen wrote:Animals are not capable of telepathy, there are much more logical explanations for this supposed phenomenon.


It's not that animals are not capable of telepathy. It's that it hasn't been proved because it's easy to make a speculation and say that everything that seems like telepathy has a scientific explanation.

Remember, there was a time that it wasn't possible that the world was round.

Kathleen wrote:The belief that animals are capable of intellectual ability is an old concept. Humans often cannot sense the cues that animals do. For example, a dog doesn't actually understand he/she did something wrong if he/she destroyed something, and the look of guilt they have when you've caught them is their fear. They understand you are going to yell at them/punish them because they have great senses. (http://www.clickandtreat.com/webart29.htm)


This is very true to a point. When my dog eats something off of the counter or goes to the bathroom in the living room when we're not home as soon as we enter the house she looks 'guilty'. Of course this is because she knows that when she does those things there are certain events that always follow. Just like they learn that when you click a treat is coming.

Michael wrote:Actually there is nothing telepathic or supernatural about it at all. There is quite a rational explanation for why it may appear that parrots could read our minds.


In most cases this is true. But there are also many cases where they haven't been able to find a scientific explanation for some events. Of course they insist that there is one, there has to be, but they just can't pin point it at this time.

Michael wrote:For instance with Kili I have noticed that she will often jump the gun and do a trick I have mentally prepared myself to cue her just as I start to if not just before I utter the word or show the hand signal. This could appear telepathic but what actually happens is one of two things:

A) Survival bias
B) Reading body language

I don't think that any of us here are saying that every single event that occurs that seems like the bird 'read our mind' is actually telepathy. Of course we realize that most of the time it's due to routine or body language.

This is a good article that covers an example of a dog that recognizes when the owner comes home (before you attack that statement, read the article, they disproved that it was just because the dog had a sense of time or recognized the sound of her car): http://www.lostvalley.org/talkingleaves/node/155

I believe animals do have certain abilities. Yes, most of these abilities have scientific explanations. Such as animals that 'predict' earthquakes and other natural disasters. They are picking up on subtle changes in their environment (I don't have the exact information on what they pick up on).

Maybe one day when our technology is better we'll be able to measure and explain what it is that's happening. But does the fact that there's a scientific reason for a dog predicting an earthquake and savings it's owner make that event any less amazing or important? Or what if there are birds that actually can describe the picture that their owner is looking at. Of course you'll say that there's some logical explanation for it or it's a hoax, but what if one day we discover how that event happened? Why does being able to explain it scientifically make it any less remarkable? Why does telepathy have to be a 'supernatural' or 'mystical' thing?

Most importantly, why should we stop being amazed by the incredible things our animals do just because there is, or could be, a scientific explanation for it?
User avatar
MandyG
Amazon
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 946
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Yellow Crowned Amazon
Flight: Yes

Re: Psychic Birds

Postby Michael » Fri Oct 23, 2009 1:35 pm

Because superstitious explanations are a discredit to their incredible cognitive capabilities.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6150
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Psychic Birds

Postby MandyG » Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:05 pm

Michael wrote:Because superstitious explanations are a discredit to their incredible cognitive capabilities.


:roll:

I didn't call them superstitious explanations. I said that I believed they have abilities to pick up on things and do amazing things that we sometimes can't explain scientifically yet (and may never be able to).

I guess I'm a horrible bird owner then. Every time a bird (or other animal) has done something amazing that I didn't have an explanation for, but I simply admired how brilliant and amazing it was, I was discrediting it's incredible cognitive capabilities.

Oh well, I'd rather 'discredit' them and still be awe struck by the amazing things they do rather than say it really wasn't that impressive because it was simply body language or survival bias.
User avatar
MandyG
Amazon
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 946
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Yellow Crowned Amazon
Flight: Yes

Re: Psychic Birds

Postby Michael » Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:45 pm

I never said that there is nothing amazing or impressive about the things they do. I am just saying that instead of giving credit to some mystical non-sense give the animal credit for learning things that get them attention or impress their owner.
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6150
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Next

Return to General Parrot Care

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests

Parrot ForumArticles IndexTraining Step UpParrot Training BlogPoicephalus Parrot InformationParrot Wizard Store