It’s pretty much common knowledge that parrots are not only smart, but can be taught to speak, as well. And not just mimic what they hear, either; you can hold conversations with some of the smarter ones.
One of my favorite stories about Andrew Jackson is that he owned a parrot that swore like a sailor – it had to be removed from his funeral because it wouldn’t stop cursing.
It might, in fact, be an ancestor of these parrots, who had to be removed from their customer-facing zoo enclosure because they wouldn’t stop cursing at the visitors.
The birds, arrived from the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park on the same day, spent some time in quarantine together before being released on display. Apparently, they spent that time bonding by teaching each other their favorite swears.
The parrots – Billy, Elsie, Eric, Jade, and Tyson – are African greys.
The zoo’s CEO, Steve Nichols, told Evening Express that though they’ve had swearing parrots before, they’ve never had five at once.
Usually, he said, parrots get shy when they’re out in an enclosure, but “for some reason, these five relish it.”
They’re a bad influence on each other, clearly.
They also love to ham it up for an audience, so the more people laugh at their potty mouths, the more excited they are to try it again.
Nichols says it’s like “an old working men’s club scenario where they are all just swearing and laughing.”
Though the parrots spiraled quickly out of control when the zoo put them out for the public, visitors were reportedly delighted to be verbally abused by a group of birds.
“People have come to us, they think it’s highly amusing, we haven’t had one complaint. When a parrot tells you to f*ck off it amuses people very highly…it’s brought a big smile to a really hard year.”
With more families returning to the zoo, though, they had to make the decision to pull the birds from public view.
They’ve been put in an area where other, more well-behaved birds will hopefully have some conservative influence on them.
The zoo plans to make sure they’re separated when they go back on display, so if and when they do curse, at least they won’t all be doing it at once.
I don’t know, y’all. I think this could be a way to bring big bucks to the zoo, because people would definitely pay to see those birds!