Friday, December 24, 2010

A Bald Eagle in NYC, and Yes, African Grey Parrots Can Speak in Context

A photograph by Eddie Yu of a juvenile Bald Eagle carrying a gull. There was some thought that this bird might be the one recently released by wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath. But this bird has a blue DEC tag which Bobby's release didn't, therefore there are at least two of these youngsters around.

Eddie's note follows--

Hi Donegal,

My name is Eddie, and I am a birder in NY. I captured a Juvenile
Bald Eagle at
FlushingMeadows Corona Park yesterday
( Dec 21, 2010 )
This was a rare capture of a Baldie in NYC. Below is the link for images and info.

Next up, blog reader Jeffery Johnson, comments on my conversation with Quicksilver the African Grey Parrot who lives with me.

Ms Browne,
Quicksilver is such a handful of delight ! Thank you for continuing to share his and your daily interactions with's fascinating that you have so much rapport with him. Verbal exchanges that are not just speech mimicking but actual communication...if I hadn't met you at Wild NYC, I simply would think you are crazy or equivocating about his squawking. Carry on bravely you two!!!
Jeff J

Thanks for the vote of confidence Jeff but for those of you who still might think I'm a wacko imagining conversations with an animal who only mimics speech, check out Alex the African Grey Parrot, at his untimely death at 30, he'd been taught phonetics and he was learning to read. (Yes you read that correctly, READ!)

Here is a video of Alex answering questions about objects asked by Dr. Pepperberg, the scientist who worked with him --
(Get more by just typing Alex the African Grey Parrot into Google)

And for more about Dr Pepperberg's work with parrots--

As to "What's wrong with Alex's feathers?" He began to pluck his feathers out when Dr. Pepperberg was away on a long speaking tour. He missed her, became anxious, and whereas humans might bite their fingernails and then find it hard to quit, parrots sometimes pluck out their own feathers and find it hard to quit.

By the way, Greys don't always speak in context, sometimes they are just mimicking sounds to amuse themselves or to get attention.

In Silver's case, he's been known to mimic me calling Pyewackit the Cat so that when she appears he can throw parrot toys at her.

Just a little example of parrot humor.

Donegal Browne

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