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English-speaking parrot lost for 4 years shows up speaking Spanish


Keith Allison CC

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 03/03/17

Some African grey parrots can learn logical reasoning and speak in sentences

When Darren Chick, who lives in Torrance, England, lost his African grey parrot, he never imagined the bird would turn up four years later in Southern California.

Julissa Sperling found Chick’s bird, Nigel, outside her home and brought him to a veterinarian named Teresa Micco, who had placed ads looking for her own lost bird. Micco, who has facilitated five reunions between parrots and their owners, mistook Nigel for her own lost bird. She tracked his microchip to Chick, who was astounded.

“I introduced myself and said, ‘Have you lost a bird?’” Micco told the Telegraph. “He initially said, ‘No.’ But he thought I meant recently.”

Not much is known about where Nigel was for 4 years, except for one significant thing — the parrot who used to speak English with a British accent now speaks in Spanish.

Sperling said that when she took Nigel to her dog grooming business, “He was singing and talking without control,” Sperling said. “He was barking like the dogs. I’m from Panama and he was saying, ‘What happened?’ in Spanish.”

While it may seem strange that a parrot can learn a new language, studies have shown these birds have a high level of intelligence. Some can even learn logical reasoning. Most parrots can mimic human speech, and research done on the African grey parrot shows that some of them can associate words with meaning and form simple sentences.

One famous grey parrot named Alex even understood the concept of “zero,” which is something children don’t usually comprehend until the age of 3 or 4. Alex had a vocabulary of 150 words and conversed and cooperated with the researchers who worked with him.

As for Nigel, he was happy to be back with Chick, who says that he recognized his beloved parrot from the minute he saw him.

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