Last Updated on by Catherine Tobsing
Yes, they can. Birds don’t understand what the words mean. They only know what these sounds are associated with.
When I was hand-feeding Sunshine, my young Indian Ringneck parrot I would talk to him and say things like, “I Love You”, “Nummy, Nummy”, Hello” Etc
He weaned at about 14 weeks. At about 6 1/2 months old he popped out with “Nummy Nummy” and “I love you”. He remembered what I said weeks prior and repeated it when he was finally ready to talk.
I was able to teach him a new word or phrase in less than a week during the first year of his life. At 3 years he stopped learning anything new and just repeated the 20–30 things he had learned prior.
Sunshine & Baby
I had taught him quite a lot, but over time, unless the “phrase” was related to something tangible, he stopped saying it.
He loved saying things related to eating like “Nummy, Nummy”, “Good”, “Mmmmmm” and so on. But phrases like “I can talk, can you fly” and “Here Kitty, Kitty” faded away because they did not bring anything to the table for him.
Stuff like “Step Up” and “Come Here” related to being picked up and handled and loved so they stayed as well. Words like “Baby Bird” were also special and made him happy when I said them.
He always liked to say “Hi” and “Hello”, but never would learn “Goodbye”, or “Goodnight” because that meant I was going away from him.
They don’t know what words mean, just how they relate to you and other things, and events.