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Is Your Parrot Self Aware or Not

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Re: Is Your Parrot Self Aware or Not

Postby liz » Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:49 am

Rambo refers to himself as Rambo or Boy. He does not make a big deal out of seeing himself in the mirror but at 31 he knows a lot.

Myrtle refers to herself as Myrtle or Pretty Girl. I have seen her looking in the mirror and talking to Myrtle.
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Re: Is Your Parrot Self Aware or Not

Postby Wolf » Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:39 am

I know that this mirror test thing is used for helping to decide if an animal might be self aware or not, but with birds, I would be very careful about deciding that this is a good method or not. Some parrots are not in the least interested in the bird they see in the mirror, some show what can only be described as a very mild or just a passing interest in the mirror bird. Other demonstrate a sexual interest in the mirror bird and with these birds, I would say that the bird does not recognize the bird in the mirror as itself and that due to the highly sexual nature of its interest in the mirror bird, that that bird need to be kept away from mirrors as this type of interest can lead to problems for both the bird and the birds care giver. This is one of the primary reasons that most experienced bird caregivers do not recommend providing a mirror for the birds in their care.
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Re: Is Your Parrot Self Aware or Not

Postby Pajarita » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:28 am

The thing is that when a parrot sees another parrot, if it has any interest in it, it will introduce itself so, when a parrot sees its reflection on a mirror and says, as in Myrtle's case: "Hi, Myrtle" it does not mean that she is actually recognizing herself (Myrtle) in the mirror, but that she is telling the bird in it that her name is "Hi, Myrtle" (they often make this mistake because we usually address them with a salutation when we first see them and that's why some of them think that their name is Hello or Hi, something (Linus believes his name is 'Hi, Linus' and that all humans are 'Hello' :lol: )

The mirror test is not whether the animal is interested in its reflection but whether they actually realize that the animal reflected there is themselves and what they do to figure this out is put a dot or something of a contrasting color on a part of their body and watch to see if the animal looks at that same part on their own body to find this dot -which, apparently, no parrot has ever done although ravens do BUT not everybody is 100% sold on the efficacy of this test with all animals - see this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test
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Re: Is Your Parrot Self Aware or Not

Postby seagoatdeb » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:12 pm

Wolf wrote:I know that this mirror test thing is used for helping to decide if an animal might be self aware or not, but with birds, I would be very careful about deciding that this is a good method or not. Some parrots are not in the least interested in the bird they see in the mirror, some show what can only be described as a very mild or just a passing interest in the mirror bird. Other demonstrate a sexual interest in the mirror bird and with these birds, I would say that the bird does not recognize the bird in the mirror as itself and that due to the highly sexual nature of its interest in the mirror bird, that that bird need to be kept away from mirrors as this type of interest can lead to problems for both the bird and the birds care giver. This is one of the primary reasons that most experienced bird caregivers do not recommend providing a mirror for the birds in their care.


i dont keep mirrors in my cage and i dont believe that mirror should be in a cage either. How i found out Gaguan recognized herself in a irror, was because she is constantly riding on my shoulder. So when i am in a room with a mirror and putting a hat on or lip gloss, Gaugan would see both of us in the mirror. It was the day i realized she recognized herself and i began experimenting by putting things on me and on her as we both looked in the mirror that was the day i saw she was different. She does not think the image is a different parrot.
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Re: Is Your Parrot Self Aware or Not

Postby liz » Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:18 am

I agree. I introduced her to herself by telling her that it was Momma and Myrtle in the mirror.
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Re: Is Your Parrot Self Aware or Not

Postby galeriagila » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:14 am

I just thought of something.

I always make fun of the Rb for not being the sharpest knife in the drawer. He has no problem-solving abilities, is confounded by foraging toys or changes in perches, etc.

But... about his name...
His first mimicry inspiration was a parrot in the bird store where I found him as a 3 month old chick... a Hahn's. He was much bigger than the Hahn's (and smaller than a B&G hen who was courting him). He didn't care much for the other birds but DID learn to say the Hahn's name... Rickey. "Rickey" and "Hello, Rickey". I had no idea he'd ever learn more words/names, so I left it as was. OH MAN, I HAD SO MANY CUTE NAMES IN MIND!!!! I had no idea he'd be a good mimic.
As the years went by, he developed such a reputation of rude and inapprorpriate behavior that people just started objectfying him as "the Rickeybird". I joined in.

Funny thing, though... he STOPPED saying "Rickey"... hasn't said his own name in 20 years, even though I say it frequently. He is good with names... says GAIL (me), KIRBY (my ol' man), several pets' names...

What do y'all think about that?
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Re: Is Your Parrot Self Aware or Not

Postby Pajarita » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:51 am

Yes, they are like that. They say something and then they stop and never say it again - or they do but it's 10 years later! But, in my personal opinion, the ability to talk is not really a good measure of their intelligence. I have birds that are super smart and don't say more than a word or two, only. I also don't think that intelligence is, per se, a feature that makes them more lovable. I can love a dumb one just as much as a smart one and, sometimes, even more!
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Re: Is Your Parrot Self Aware or Not

Postby galeriagila » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:46 pm

That totally rings true, Pajarita. He does pick up and drop words, noises, etc.

And I really must stick to my belief that he isn't very bright, as parrots go. Maybe mimicry can be a sort of innate/unlearned/either-there-or-not, and not related to adaptive intelligence kind of thing.

I think that's the case for the Rb, anyway.
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Re: Is Your Parrot Self Aware or Not

Postby liz » Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:48 am

Pajarita wrote:Yes, they are like that. They say something and then they stop and never say it again - or they do but it's 10 years later! But, in my personal opinion, the ability to talk is not really a good measure of their intelligence. I have birds that are super smart and don't say more than a word or two, only. I also don't think that intelligence is, per se, a feature that makes them more lovable. I can love a dumb one just as much as a smart one and, sometimes, even more!


Rainbow would talk all day long asking question she wanted answers to. He was such a character that the Hospice worker all put him on their phones. When I had to call help to get Momma from one place to another the medics came in looking for Rainbow while walking toward my Momma. He stopped the all day talking but still has the words when I got Myrtle. She was so noisy he let her take first place.
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Re: Is Your Parrot Self Aware or Not

Postby galeriagila » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:06 am

That is the best story!
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