Why do parrots enjoy mimicking?

Red beak parrot hidding in the trees' leaves
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How do we know parrots enjoy anything? Another question recently asked on Quora was “what do parrots do for fun”?

 

We know parrots prefer “working” for food versus simply eating from overflowing bowls of parrot food.

 

We know correlation does not necessarily imply causation but can we infer that work & play are one and the same for a parrot?

Entrepreneurs are far happier working for less money  with no boss in the equation. I don’t see much of a difference.

Parrots figured out fending for themselves was both fun and play while being a learning process.

 

They clearly know that “15 places to find food is better than 10 places to find food.”

 

“If I can reach 20 places to find food, I can make babies and feed them”.

 

If we could get into parrots heads, we wouldn’t have pluckers, screamers and prolific egg layers. I’m certain humans are not smart enough to do so.

 

All we can do is guess.

 

To this question’s point – if you look at the 10,400 or so species of birds on the planet, most bird species are flock animals and those that aren’t still have intra-species verbalization to communicate enormous amounts of valuable of information regarding food health and safety.

 

We know that cockatoos can make tools out of wood to help them obtain food. Magpies make tools out of metal wire to impale larva.

 

Crows create their own toys like sleds for sledding down steep roofs covered in snow. Finches and woodpeckers use twigs to impale larva.

 

Scrub Jays “recache” their food especially if they know other birds saw them hide it.

 

They will move the food after the other birds have left.

 

The ingenuity of birds is breathtaking

 

BUT….

 

This begs the question “what good is a stash of food if you can’t communicate to other flock members where you put it”?

 

In Australia a flock of almost a million budgies communicate with scout parties that are sent off to find the best places for foraging grass seed and water.

 

 

Birds are always communicating. Many species can identify babies that are just a couple of days old by their “voice.”

 

It’s important to keep in mind that birds have three times the neurons as mammals with respect to brain size and process thought three times quicker than us terrestrial mammals.

 

A case could be made that birds are the first “organic” AI (Artificial Intelligence) because of how fast they process thought and make decisions.

 

How do hawks fly through a crowded forest at 40 MPH without constantly crashing into trees?

 

AI can not duplicate that thought process – yet.

 

I am advocating that when birds mimic, they are communicating. We know the work that Dr. Irene Pepperberg has done illustrates that birds are able to communicate “concepts.”

 

Mammalian infants don’t instinctively know what objects are like a foot or a ball or a toy are, any more than parrots. Both species must learn.

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Author:

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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