Not long ago, one posted an article about Tweetie Pie, a Yellow Naped Amazon Parrot who lives with us and who seems to have well developed comprehension and language skills. That previous article mentioned how Dr. Irene Pepperburg’s research on avian psychology suggests that many parrots have the mental understanding of a (human) 5 year old and the verbal capacity of a 2 year old. We play learning videos and movies all day long for Tweetie and the two other birds who live with her. They often, by the way, watch full length movies with as much interest and zeal as any human would. When one walks into their room during a good movie, they don’t even look at what you are doing; and they watch the movie throughout its entire duration. Anyone who lives with parrots (or dogs or other similar animals too) has the responsibility of exercising their minds and bodies daily. With parrots, one can daily hold their feet and move them up and down and around repeatedly (so they vigorously flap their wings), so that they get substantial exercise; additionally, toys and fun objects can be given to them to play with often. Being intelligent, they need a lot of attention and social interaction daily. Be sure to daily exercise yourself too; many people don’t!
I am retired, and usually home, but earlier this week, Marla and i went to the doctors. Later, that evening, i said to Tweetie, “What were you thinking about today, Tweetie?” Tweetie responded with: “About you!” I then said, “How sweet; thank you, Tweetie!” Later, while i was preparing the birds’ food next to a large perch that she was on, i said to her, “Do you want a piece of apricot?” She said, “I do.” Earlier, when we were at the doctor’s office, one of the nurses we were talking with said that her parents have a parrot that talks with good comprehension. We sure know what that is about! Whenever Tweetie talks, it always has relevant meaning; it is not just mimicry.
I used to be a teacher of students who were multiply handicapped and who had mental retardation. I know, good and well, that correctly answering a question pertaining to the abstract concept of “thinking” takes a rather high level of cognitive processing. Lately, over the last few days, one has been talking to Tweetie about simple philosophy and perception “beyond thinking.” One, of course, has kept things very simple. When i first told Tweetie that one can look at things without thinking — such that everything is “one thing” — she looked all around carefully as if she got something out of what i said. A few nights ago, i again talked about philosophical things — you know how it’s in my blood — and suggested looking at everything as not just being separate, but together as one. I held my hand, with fingers spread, in front of her, and said that each finger was different from the other fingers. Mentioning that each finger can look and act differently, i wiggled my fingers in different ways. Then i pointed out that though each finger is different, they are all connected (and not separate), and all are together as one hand. I said that all of us are like the fingers — all being as one thing. I said that it is good to go beyond thinking now and then, and to look at everything as if for the first time, without just seeing things as being separate. As i turned away from her to prepare their food, Tweetie said, “You are right!” (This was the first time she has ever said that… and we didn’t teach it to her.) She wasn’t brown-nosing, either; she is brutally honest. One day, recently, for instance, i reprimanded one of the other parrots for screaming too loud, and later in the evening, Marla opened the door to the avian room to reprimand me for having their TV on too loud. I was in their room preparing their food at the time, and said, “Marla, is like an old grouch today.” Tweetie then said, “You are too!”
A couple of days after her response to my philosophical talk, i went into their area as they were watching the Muppets on television. As i was sitting there eating a salad and watching it with them, there was an episode where western ranch hands were riding on top of cows and saying how much they loved the wonderful horses they were riding. I laughed out loud, and said, “They’re not on horses; they are riding on cows!” Tweetie said, “You are right!” She was correct about her judgement of this last (factual) occurrence; whether she was correct regarding what i said philosophically is debatable (though very interesting). Perhaps intelligent animals are more appreciative of going beyond dead symbols — and of seeing the value of direct perception — than most of us humans. Tweetie will not likely ever go through profound enlightenment; but, then, neither will the vast majority of humans. Usually, when i take Tweetie out for her daily exercising, i ask her how she is doing. Her usual reply is “Pretty good!” I’ve noticed that on those days that I’ve talked to her about going beyond thinking… she, instead, says, “I don’t know!” Perfect answer! People might easily say that i am nuts for talking philosophically to bird brains. However, i have received more intelligent responses from my avian friends, lately, than i have from local humans in our area.
Tweetie’s verbal communication is very interesting, but words are symbols. I don’t understand when are symbols “dead” and when are they “alive”?
Thank you! Who ever said they were sometimes alive? Perception beyond symbols may be alive in a immense way… but one can’t even “know” that one is in that state; it is so profound such that it is beyond “knowing.” Of course, if true enlightenment occurs — that is another story — one would realize it beyond question. When i had asked Tweetie how she was doing, and when she said “I don’t know,” i was excited. Previously, i had talked to her about how the word “I” is just another thought, just another symbol… and is not really in control of the other thoughts. When profound mindfulness takes place — on its own; you can’t “make” it happen — there are no endless symbols occurring as thinking… and there is no “I.”
Symbols are very necessary, but limited… just like a stop-sign. All thoughts are symbolic.
I agree. My Timneh Gray knows many words and displays humor, anoyance and love. He uses words apropriatly.
Grays are very intelligent too! Dr. Pepperburg, of course, worked primarily with Grays! 🙂
Don’t feed your bird peanuts in the shell or even human grade de-shelled peanuts… they can carry pathogens that birds are 200 times more sensitive to than humans. Say no to peanuts! The shells carry tons of bad crap! Don’t give them anything that peanuts come close to.
Thanks for peanut tip.
Fascinating and adorable!
Thank you, Val! Shocks even me often! 🙂
monkey wonder if tweetie & other birdie discuss tractatus logico-philosophicus by ludwig wittgenstein when tom not in room.
Ha! LOL! That’s a good one! 🙂 Marla asked me what i was laughing out loud about, and i told her. She said, “We’re talking to birds and Sock Monkeys… how weird are we?” 🙂
>> Perhaps intelligent animals are more appreciative of going beyond dead symbols — and of seeing the value of direct perception — than most of us humans.
>> Tweetie will not likely ever go through profound enlightenment; but, then, neither will the vast majority of humans.
Regards to all of you.
Rather strange to have a pet that may have more wisdom that a lot of the people i know! We need to do better as a species! 🙂
>> We need to do better as a species!
There are many things we are scared of, one of them being becoming wise and recognizing, accepting the other person(s) wiser. The reason probably is, we don’t realize we are also species of certain class.
Take care you both. 🙂
This is amazing. Hilarious, but completely amazing.
Thanks, Bee! I just recently bought colored wooden numbers (for kids) from Walmart. She looks at the one named by color and number without difficulty.
It’s great to hear all about Tweetie and your other birds 🙂 Their speech does seem to make sense, and they are way more intelligent than my dogs!
Lovely photo 🙂
Thanks, Sci! Don’t compare! Dogs are super cool in their own way… and are very loving and compassionate creatures! Plenty smart too! 🙂
Oh don’t worry, I don’t love a pet based on its intelligence. – LM is my least smart dog, but has plenty of other things going for her. 🙂
you really made us laugh with this post, Thomas. It’s so cute to read about Tweetie. I’m already a big fan of hers. I guess she’s even more intelligent than a 25 year old blonde girl, hehe. By the way, where do you live that you have such stupid people around you? I thought you were living here, hehe, as it’s the same here, too.
So glad that you enjoyed it, Mitza! 🙂 I know that you are a big fan of Tweeies! I’ll tell her that she has a number one online fan! Yes… way more intelligent than a 25 year old blonde! hehe Yes… my local area is planet earth… and it is full of irresponsible, polluting, indifferent homo sapiens.
I would really appreciate if you made a “Weekly Tweetie” so that I had something to laugh about every Saturday. Unfortunately, the world is full of irresponsible, polluting, indifferent homo sapiens and I would even leave the “sapiens” because it means “wise” and that’s no wisdom at all. We also have this kind of neighbours and I get mad when I see that they never close the lights when they leave, that they have 3 cars which need 22 (!) l of petrol for 100 km each and have stickers on their car saying:today is a good day to burn some petrol etc. Gosh, stupidity can kill and makes me very agressive. Greetings to the “wise” bird Tweetie, regards Mitza
birds can’t be
people, too? 🙂
Yes… and people need to stop putting bird wings on themselves claiming to be something heavenly; it’s not right to take the appendages of other species and claim them as your eventual religious reward! 😉
Glorious humor… loved it!
Thanks, Lori! You should be there when Tweetie says, “Tom is a smelly, old fart.” (Marla taught her that!)
Fun and interesting post. I had a budgie for many years that showed remarkable awareness and intelligence. Anyone who thinks birds are ‘bird-brains’ have never taken the time to know one.
Beautiful picture.., beautiful colors…!
all are together as one hand… This one will stay with me for a long while.
Thank you so much, Tom!
Wow! Tweetie sounds like an amazing bird!! Thank you so much for sending me the link!💚