Parrots have been separated at an English zoo following an outbreak of “fowl” language! The five birds, African Greys, arrived at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park last month. It was hoped they’d get along with the rest of the colony, containing over 200 fellow squawkers.
When these feisty fiends went into quarantine, things got fruity. It wasn’t a cause for concern at first. Zoo chief Steve Nichols tells Lincolnshire Live about parrots that “sometimes had a bit of blue language”. However once the stream of expletives started, it didn’t stop.
Maybe the gang would settle down once they left quarantine and met the public? No chance. “Most parrots clam up outside,” says Nichols, quoted by Sky News, “but for some reason these five relish it.”
The parrots with attitude were certainly unleashing a natural world nightmare. Where does their confrontational attitude come from? It’s not clear. Maybe they shouldn’t have named one of them Tyson! The others are called Eric, Elsie, Jade and Billy.
An exotic bird talking trash is always entertaining. “When a parrot tells you to f*** off it amuses people” Nichols comments. And the bigger the laughs, the more Tyson and co enjoy the spotlight.
As well as setting each other off, the parrots’ potty mouths are activated by spectators and staff alike. Employees “couldn’t help but crack and smile” Nichols says to Lincolnshire Live. This has “only encouraged the birds even more.”
Funny though it was for adults, Nichols decided to take a Maude Flanders approach and think of the children. To preserve their reputation as a family attraction, the team shifted the ballsy beaked bunch to what he describes as “an off-shore enclosure”.
Here maybe they’ll take the chance to chill out and learn something from more civilized parrots.
That’s the theory anyway. Nichols confides to the BBC: “if they teach the others bad language and I end up with 250 swearing birds, I don’t know what we’ll do”. Once the Greys are out, they’ll be displayed separately in order to minimize any x-rated cacophony.
Elsewhere in the park, Chico the singing parrot is a perfect example of how to grab avian attention in the right way. This month he impressed the world with a rendition of ‘If I Were A Boy’ by Beyoncé. He is a boy of course, but being a bird makes him an interesting novelty nonetheless!
“He even has his own Instagram account now” notes The Poke, “making him possibly the world’s first parrot influencer.” Chico’s talents were nurtured by previous owner Julie Gregory. He also has Lady Gaga and Katy Perry in his repertoire.
Looks like Chico has the new arrivals licked. Yet there’s more to African Greys than simply swearing their beaks off. A report in New Scientist earlier this year describes an “intelligence and helpfulness” test at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
Greys and other birds were put in front of a hole next to some metal washers. Working out they had to put the washers through the holes earned them a tasty reward. Eventually an option was added whereby they could pass washers to neighboring birds who had nothing to swap for snacks.
Guess which group displayed an impressive combo of brain power and generosity…? That’s right, the Greys. Just don’t ask experts to explain it. “It’s not clear why African greys help others, nor why other species of birds don’t” the magazine writes.
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Lincolnshire Wildlife Park’s outrageous avians may not show that level of aptitude. They do however perform the vital task of keeping spirits up. Like many institutions, the zoo has taken a financial hit from Coronavirus. The cussing creatures have raised much-needed chuckles in worrying times…