Teaching Pet Birds to Talk

If you have ever thought about owning a parrot, you most likely thought about what you would teach it to say. Birds which are capable of mimicking human speech not only provide hours of entertainment, but make for an interesting conversation piece and some hilarious moments with family and friends.

While not every bird has the capacity to mimic other sounds and words, there are large varieties which do. Many people think only parrots can talk, but other bird species such as mynahs, ravens, crows, cockatiels and parakeets have all been known to mimic words and sounds. A bird’s capability to speak may depend on a number of different factors, such as species, gender and age. Parrots are best known for their speaking ability because they generally exhibit a higher aptitude for speech and can often form entire sentences on their own, using a limited vocabulary.

When it comes to teaching your pet bird to speak, you need to remember that it will take time and patience. You need to make it an enjoyable experience for your bird which will encourage him to learn further. What you put in is usually what you get out and at the end of the day you will find the results are often very rewarding.

When training a bird to speak, it is often best to start young. A very young bird may not be able to repeat what it is hearing, but it certainly is taking it in. When teaching your pet bird make sure that all other noises and distractions are minimized as much as possible – so switch off the TV and close the doors leading to the room for some peace and quiet. Then you can start by repeating certain words or phrases in the same gentle tone of voice.

Birds tend to find it easier to mimic a child’s or woman’s voice than they do a man´s so if you are struggling to get the bird to understand, try raising your pitch but not your volume. Keep phrases short and look for signs that your bird is paying attention. These could include tipping of the head from side to side, bobbing it up and down or ruffling the feathers on the head and neck. If the bird is distracted by other events in the room or by the food bowl, he/she is not paying attention or learning. You can try and get the bird’s attention by trying different tones and pitches.

Learning usually becomes easier after the first word, so be patient and give your bird time to absorb what it is learning. Keep sessions fairly short and repeat them several times a day if possible. Training can go on for years, but it is a very rewarding experience!