African grey on mans left hand silently staring into camera
African Grey Parrot out in nature during the day

Is There Anything I Can Do to Help My Grey Relearn to Speak?

Last Updated on by Catherine Tobsing

 Karen R. is concerned about her grey’s lack of vocalizations.

 

Sam, our African Gray has been living with us for almost 15 years.

 

He had at least a few homes before us.

 

When he first came he was chatting up a storm, I felt like he was trying to call his flock.

 

Since then, he has only spoken twice in the 14 plus years he’s been with us.

 

He’s got quite the personality and will run to the corner of his cage to throw water at me, or pull my hair when I’m cleaning the bottom of his cage.

 

But besides that, he is still pretty shut off.

 

Is there anything I can do to help him relearn to speak? He makes lots of whistles and bird noises, but it sure would be nice to hear him say some words.

 

Dear Karen

Thank you for taking in Sam and giving him his forever home. Yes, he could have been calling out to his flock when he first came home with you. Birds talk, make sounds for various reasons. Happiness, fear, anger, wanting food or attention. The triggers are not always known, especially when they have had more than one home.

 

Our own birds are not overly chatty until we come by and start to try a conversation between us and they all start chiming in because they want to be a part of the conversation too.

 

We don’t discourage them from joining in so they happily chatter away.

 

Your bird may not have had the same acceptance. He may have been covered up when he called out or yelled at or even his cage smacked to scare him into being quiet.

 

This can result in a lifelong reaction that some bird owners would prefer. Although if one chooses a parrot for a companion they should let them be vocal.

 

Is your home naturally quiet or is it alive with the sounds of children, music, TV programs, dogs, etc?

 

 

The latter option will be more conducive to an equally vocal parrot. A quiet home is not likely to produce an environment where a shy parrot will feel confident in chattering much.

 

There are those who say they want a bird that talks, especially an African grey. But then, of course, you don’t always get what you asked for as they can mimic sounds that you may not enjoy hearing like a smoke detector, a squeaking hinge on a door or even the doorbell so clearly that you are continually answering a door with no one there. 

 

That he is active, enjoys your company and you are able to play silly games together is a wonderful exchange for him not being so vocal with words.

Enjoy him as he is.

 

Regards,

Catherine

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