So, I am cleaning cages, and getting their food ready. Tweetie Pie (one of the parrots that lives with us) is standing on a perch right near to where I am. (We don’t call them “pets,” as — I’m sure like a lot of you dog, cat, and bird caretakers know — we turn into more “their personal servants” than “pet owners.”) I turn to Tweetie and ask, “What do you want from Santa for Christmas?” “Do you want a new learning video, a new toy, extra peanuts, pizza cheese, or maybe a lot of carrots, or tasty grapes, or apples?” “So, Tweetie, what do you want?”
The following is what Tweetie’s response was (which we did not teach her… and which she also had said around a week prior to this when I had asked her the very same question):
She learns things from watching others interact, not only by teaching her directly. I have (with Tweetie nearby observing) said things to the other birds like, “Wow! Your bowl is empty; good job! You ate everything!” (Dr. Irene Pepperberg, who does extensive research with parrots, says many of them have the mental understanding of a 5 year old and the capacity to verbalize of a 2 year old.)
Afterwards, as I keep cleaning, I said, “If you want all those things, you better be extra good, because, as you know, Santa sees everything, he is always watching everything you do at all times.” As I said this, one of the other parrots enthusiastically said, “Yeah! Yeah!,” and Tweetie Pie looked up scanning her eyes all around the ceiling (as if wondering how Santa could see everything at all times).
They really like Christmas oriented videos, like Polar Express, and I’ve been playing those a lot lately.
Happy Holidays! 🙂