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Simon says hi

Simon has a new word. It’s a little word, and it’s not the most exciting thing a parrot has ever said. But there’s just something about the way he says it…

The word is “Hi.” He says it in the sweetest, friendliest, most enticing voice I’ve ever heard. You can’t hear that kind of hi without saying it back. So now we’re saying Hi to each other about a hundred times a day. Except when I’m trying to get it on video…then he either clams right up, or makes his rusty hinge noise.

It’s really interesting how he says different words in different voices. Everything from a sweet little girl voice to a possessed little girl voice.

His English is still pretty rudimentary, but a typical conversation goes something like this:

Simon: “Hi.”

Me: “Hi.”

Simon: “Hi.”

Me: “Hi.”

Simon: “Peekaboo.”

Me: “Peekaboo.”

Simon: “Peekaboo.”

Me: “I love you.”

Simon: “Wow.”

Me: “I love you.”

Simon: Makes loud kissing noises.

There are lots of whistles and clucks and squeaky door noises and dog whimpers and meows, too.

He’s definitely the most difficult bird of the three of them these days. He’s going through the Terrible Twos and he’s constantly looking for trouble. He feels much more secure in his powers of flight now, and he has expanded his territory to include theĀ  furniture. He has no qualms about taking whatever he wants from wherever he wants. His newest favourite thing is the iPad. He just wants to bite that neoprene cover but parrots have incredibly powerful beaks and I can’t let him bite anything that I don’t want broken.

Except my fingers. Apparently it’s perfectly normal for African Greys to go through a biting stage at this age, and the only way to cure them of it is to ignore the biting. I’m supposed to pretend I don’t even notice when he’s chomping down on my finger. Frankly, I don’t understand why ignoring it is supposed to work. To me it sounds like advice given by somebody who has tried everything and finally given up and resigned themselves to the fact that their bird is always going to bite them. But most authoritative parrot sources seem to agree on this advice, so I’m trying to do it. It’s getting easier.


5 comments to Simon says hi

  • Walked in a pet store that had a huge cage at the entrance, with a big parrot (Amazon? something multi-colored…). Whenever anyone paused next to the cage, the parrot would say “OUCH!” really loudly. I think it was pretty effective at keeping fingers out of the cage.

  • Ha ha! That’s hilarious!

  • Someone told me that when she was a little kid, her father won a mynah bird. The bird used to jump into its water dish, splash around and yell “HELP!”

  • Marion

    Just found your website today! Am having fun reading!

    I have an African Grey as well, she’s 10. I remember the terrible twos very well! One thing you can do to stop the biting – if she’s sitting on your finger, and about to bite you, just wobble your finger a little – enough to unbalance her a bit. She MIGHT forget about trying to bite you to keep her balance. Doesn’t always work, but does sometimes!

    My grey’s shy too, I can’t get ay videos of her. Looking forward to reading more about your life unravelling!

    • Hi Marion, it’s always nice to meet another Grey person. How long did the Terrible Twos last with your bird? (What’s her name, by the way?)

      I’m trying to figure out whether this is more like the Terrible Twos or adolescence. He’s 22 months old, but it feels like teen rebellion…