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Old 05-05-2014, 05:10 PM
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Speaking Question

Hello,

I have just started reading about IRN's and have a quick question. Once they've learned some words, do they use them in the correct context?
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Old 05-05-2014, 05:21 PM
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Re: Speaking Question

Some birds will use learned words, phrases, or sounds on the correct context. Some argue that it's purely coincidence, others say it's intentional. That highly depends on the bird and the person, really.
My birds don't say anything in context. They just sort of mumble whenever they feel like it.
But, for example, if you drop/hit something, then say "OW!!" Then your bird might make the connection, and whenever he/she hears a loud noise copy you and say "Ow!!" Thus using it in the correct context, but still only mimicking.
Birds are mostly mimics, they don't really use the english language as a way of communicating(with certain exceptions.)
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Old 05-05-2014, 05:25 PM
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Re: Speaking Question

Thank you for the explanation! I had been reading mostly about Eclectus parrots and different stories of how they'll "ask" for a bath, greet someone by name when they come in, say when they want to go outside, etc, and was curious how IRN's compare.

I've read IRN's can learn hundreds of words, and I wanted to know if they learn to associate/etc.
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Old 05-05-2014, 05:55 PM
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Re: Speaking Question

Some do, some don't.

I have had, I think three of my eleven used words in context. My CAG is somewhat conversational, and I had a dusky conure that was somewhat conversational as well... believe me, the cognitive ones blow your mind.

The others will pick up certain phrases in context, and know what they mean.

Examples:

"Is that good? Want some." (When I am eating. That's what I said when I gave them some. Now they all use it in context.)

Wanna go for a walk? Wanna go outside? Time for breakfast. Time for bed.
Gotta go to work.

With my greenwing, all food products are "cracker" and anything you are drinking is "water." She knows those in context. My CAG takes it a step further. He knows specifically "I'm thirsty."

So my Greenwing will say "want some water." My CAG says "I'm thirsty." Both on the stimulous of seeing you drinking, and they want some...

DO THEY KNOW?! I'd say based on the Alex studies, the answer is yes.

Some are better than others. But if you use it with them in context, and actually take the time to teach them what it means, they pick it up in context, and use it back with you in context...

Which is occasionally completely mind blowing...

IF YOU DON'T TEACH THEM, THEY STILL PICK UP SOME OF WHAT THEY HEAR. THE REALLY, REALLY SMART ONES WILL STILL FIGURE OUT WHAT SOME OF IT MEANS... But if you want one that talks in context, you have to make the effort to teach them, and they have to be inclined to do that sort of thing... so it's an inexact science.

Last edited by Birdman666; 05-05-2014 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:01 PM
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Re: Speaking Question

That's awesome, thank you for your reply! I've been reading about Eclectus parrots for over a year now, but they're so expensive There's this adorable 8 month or so year old IRN at the petstore (swore I'd only ever use a breeder) that has taken quite the liking to my fiance and I. I can get him "talking" up a storm (birdie talk of course), singing and playing in no time. He turns his head upside down and gives us kisses. Gotta say we're in love

Lots of thinking and reading to do....!
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:43 PM
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Re: Speaking Question

Mac my Eclectus would always ask me "You want some fresh water", but he was only mimicking me because that is what I would ask him two or three times a day when ever I would change out his water, so he started saying it to me when I would bring him fresh water.

He would also say "Peak a Boo, I see you" as he was trying to pull a towel over my head, but this is because this was his favorite game and he is only mimicking me. So yes, they repeat Phrases they have learned in context, but it is only because of mimicking who ever he learned the word or phrase from. If you are asking if they know what it means, then no they don't. They are very smart animals, but I don't give them that kind of credit.
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:49 AM
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Re: Speaking Question

Quote: Originally Posted by mtdoramike View Post
Mac my Eclectus would always ask me "You want some fresh water", but he was only mimicking me because that is what I would ask him two or three times a day when ever I would change out his water, so he started saying it to me when I would bring him fresh water.

He would also say "Peak a Boo, I see you" as he was trying to pull a towel over my head, but this is because this was his favorite game and he is only mimicking me. So yes, they repeat Phrases they have learned in context, but it is only because of mimicking who ever he learned the word or phrase from. If you are asking if they know what it means, then no they don't. They are very smart animals, but I don't give them that kind of credit.
Have you seen the INTERVIEW someone did with Alex the african grey?!

Asked him questions out of the blue, and he answered them appropriately.

Read the Alex studies... YES! THEY CAN.
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:58 AM
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Re: Speaking Question

True story.

One of the phrases I have used with Tusk when he was upset or nervous about something. "Whatsthematter Tusk? You're okay. It's okay."

So, Halloween, about two years ago. We get a lot of tricker treaters. I am sitting outside passing out candy, with the birds in the tree, because I don't want to deal with them going off every time someone comes to the door.

Problem is both the macaws are lap birds, and they won't stay in the tree. So I have one on my lap, one on my shoulder, and three in the tree.

Cute little girl, couldn't have been more than four, first halloween ever... sprinting! from house to house getting candy. "This is great!" Half way across my lawn, suddenly figures out that that big red bird on my lap IS REAL! Freaks out and falls, and spills her candy... sitting there crying under the tree...

MY CAG walks to the end of the branch, hangs upside down by one foot directly over her head and says: "Awww... watsamatter? It's okay. You're okay... come here. Come on."

And of course, all the other birds know come here... so they started repeating it... "Come on, come here."

So, are you telling me my CAG didn't cognitively assess that situation, and do for that little human, what humans had done for him in the same circumstance?!

No way!

You had to have seen this to have believed it. It was absolutely an act of an animal consoling an upset child "in human."

SO, YES THEY CAN!!!
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Old 05-06-2014, 10:41 AM
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Re: Speaking Question

Wow, that's incredible! So cute.
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Old 05-06-2014, 10:58 AM
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Re: Speaking Question

Just because they can, doesn't mean they all do, or will.

Of all the birds I have owned or fostered, I have had two that were what I call "cognitive." They all have some ability, whether or not they choose to interact with you. But, nothing is guaranteed.

Alex was picked at random from a pet store. That was the point of the experiment. Totally at random. Nothing special about that bird. Then she worked with him 12 hours per day, six days per week.

Not only could he talk, he could add, subtract, multiply, and could verbalize the differences between colors, shapes, textures, etc.

When I got my CAG, I went to a seminar taught by Dr. Pepperburg, where she explained some of the concepts and training methods. Fascinating stuff for bird nerds...

MY FAVORITE ALEX STORY:

Dr. Pepperburg was doing a research fund raiser, and was demonstrating what Alex could do. She gave him a spelling test, and was giving him a grape as a reward.

So, she gave him a word. He spelled it correctly. She gave him a grape. He spit out the grape, and told her "I want a nut." She was out of nuts, and told him he would get his nuts later...

Then she gave him another spelling word. He spelled that one correctly. She gave him another grape. He again spit it out and said "I want a nut."
She again told him she didn't have any nuts and gave him another word to spell.

After the third time spelling a word correctly and not getting his nut, he looked her in the eye and said: "I want a nut. N-U-T! NUT! He actually sarcastically spelled it out for her... then he refused to do anything else until someone went and got him his nuts...

THAT is not a mimic. THAT is cognitive.

My CAG is cognitive. If you are looking for the bird with the most superior cognitive abilities, CAGS are probably first on the list. But you get what you put into it. They don't come like this. This stuff has to be taught.
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