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9 Birds Caught Using Some Very Naughty Language

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If you’re going to teach Polly how to talk, you’d better watch what you say! Here are nine of the world’s most “fowl”-mouthed avians.

1. Pet Cockatoo Cusses Out Human Neighbors

When a couple breaks up, things can get ugly—but it’s not every day that a swearing cockatoo gets thrown into the mix. In 2012, Lynne Taylor of Warwick, Rhode Island was accused of teaching her pet bird, Willy, to scream expletives at her former husband, Craig Fontaine, and his new girlfriend, both of whom lived next door. One of these outbursts was filmed and shown to the local police department, where an officer claimed that he was able to hear Willy shouting “‘f*** off’ and ‘f****** whore’” in the footage. Taylor was subsequently ticketed for violating a regional noise ordinance, a charge that was eventually dropped.

2. Potty-Mouthed Parrot Teaches Feathered Friends How To Swear

To date, “Barney the Swearing Parrot” of Nuneaton, England has verbally assaulted a vicar, two law enforcement officials, a pair of old ladies, and even the mayor’s wife. “It was quite horrifying to find out that he was swearing,” says Geoff Grewcox, director of the Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, where the infamous blue and gold macaw currently resides. Barney’s also had a bad influence on some of Grewcox’s other birds, some of whom have actually begun imitating his vulgar vocabulary.

3. Mr. T Told to Watch His Mouth

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This is one bird that had to kick a very bad habit. Tropical Inc. of Birmingham, Alabama specializes in producing educational programs about exotic critters for nearby schools and universities. When a green-winged macaw named Mr. T was given to the organization, animal trainer Steve Rowlands quickly realized that the bird’s dialect needed a bit of cleansing before the staff could safely display him in public. “[He’s] picked up some interesting phrases and words which are not appropriate for some venues we go to,” Rowland explained. “Parrots like Mr. T can live to 90-years-old so he’s still only a youngster at [age seven]… I’m sure he’ll outgrow this rebellious stage soon.”

4. Adopted Cockatoo Swears at New Owner in Viral YouTube Video

In 2011, a YouTuber by the name of Furman Campbell posted this hilarious clip in which he gets into a highly NSFW argument with Baby, his newly-acquired fowl. Since then, their entertaining exchange has drawn over one million views.

5. Bird Uses Taiwanese Profanity

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Pika the African Grey parrot is knows quite a lot of words. Unfortunately, many shouldn’t be repeated. According to the Taipei Times, he lives at a food stand in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung province and has begun “hurling insults and discouragement” at its customers, along with a slew of regional obscenities. Despite this, the winged detractor has become a beloved figure within his community.

6. Gutter-Mouthed Lory Seeks New Home

Finding a family can be difficult for any abandoned animal, especially one that curses like a sailor. Such is the burden of Beaky, a lory whose lingo has raised a few eyebrows over the years. “He knows some words that possibly are for adults only,” says Sally Jones of the Leybourne Animal Centre. Taking this information into account, in 2012, the British Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals began advertising that Beaky was in need of a good home but warned that “new owners shouldn’t mind bad language as he comes out with some rude words.” 

7. Mynah Bird Gets Kicked Out of Aviary for Insulting Tourists

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When an impressionable avian at China’s Jiufeng Forest Zoo picked up a few expletives and started re-using them in front of startled visitors, officials decided it was time to put the critter in rehab. The offending Mynah bird has since been forced to listen to tapes containing “polite words” in a separate enclosure until its demeanor improves.

8. Parrot Discovers The Wonderful World of Interjections

It turns out that kids aren’t the only ones R-rated films can negatively affect. The owner of this bawdry macaw claims that he learned to shout “What the f***?!” from an unidentified “Hollywood movie.”

9. Bird Cusses Through a Thick Welsh Accent

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Sarah Fisk, a 34-year-old wife and mother, felt that a homeless grey parrot would make a perfect addition to her Bristol household. Named Basil, the bird had previously lived in Wales, a fact that’s been reflected in his vernacular. “His accent is so strong sometimes that we don’t understand what he’s saying,” says Fisk, “but it definitely sounds Welsh.” Regrettably, the twang in his voice isn’t the only thing Basil picked up from his former owners. “He was very quiet and shy for the first day,” she reflects, “but then all of a sudden he started talking and rather surprised us with his adult vocabulary.” While visiting nearby veterinarian Mandy Stone, Basil chirped so many nasty names at the nurses that Fisk felt compelled to formally “apologize for his bad manners.”

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Pigeons Are Secretly Brilliant Birds That Understand Space and Time, Study Finds
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Of all the birds in the world, the pigeon draws the most ire. Despite their reputation as brainless “rats with wings,” though, they’re actually pretty brilliant (and beautiful) animals. A new study adds more evidence that the family of birds known as pigeons are some of the smartest birds around, as Quartz alerts us.

In addition to being able to distinguish English vocabulary from nonsense words, spot cancer, and tell a Monet from a Picasso, pigeons can understand abstract concepts like space and time, according to the new study published in Current Biology. Their brains just do it in a slightly different way than humans’ do.

Researchers at the University of Iowa set up an experiment where they showed pigeons a computer screen featuring a static horizontal line. The birds were supposed to evaluate the length of the line (either 6 centimeters or 24 centimeters) or the amount of time they saw it (either 2 or 8 seconds). The birds perceived "the longer lines to have longer duration, and lines longer in duration to also be longer in length," according to a press release. This suggests that the concepts are processed in the same region of the brain—as they are in the brains of humans and other primates.

But that abstract thinking doesn’t occur in the same way in bird brains as it does in ours. In humans, perceiving space and time is linked to a region of the brain called the parietal cortex, which the pigeon brains lack entirely. So their brains have to have some other way of processing the concepts.

The study didn’t determine how, exactly, pigeons achieve this cognitive feat, but it’s clear that some other aspect of the central nervous system must be controlling it. That also opens up the possibility that other non-mammal animals can perceive space and time, too, expanding how we think of other animals’ cognitive capabilities.

[h/t Quartz]

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The Queen's Racing Pigeons Are in Danger, Due to an Increase in Peregrine Falcons
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Queen Elizabeth is famous for her love of corgis and horses, but her pet pigeons don't get as much press. The monarch owns nearly 200 racing pigeons, which she houses in a luxury loft at her country estate, Sandringham House, in Norfolk, England. But thanks to a recent boom in the region’s peregrine falcon population, the Queen’s swift birds may no longer be able to safely soar around the countryside, according to The Telegraph.

Once endangered, recent conservation efforts have boosted the peregrine falcon’s numbers. In certain parts of England, like Norfolk and the city of Salisbury in Wiltshire, the creatures can even find shelter inside boxes installed at local churches and cathedrals, which are designed to protect potential eggs.

There’s just one problem: Peregrine falcons are birds of prey, and local pigeon racers claim these nesting nooks are located along racing routes. Due to this unfortunate coincidence, some pigeons are failing to return to their owners.

Pigeon racing enthusiasts are upset, but Richard Salt of Salisbury Cathedral says it's simply a case of nature taking its course. "It's all just part of the natural process,” Salt told The Telegraph. "The peregrines came here on their own account—we didn't put a sign out saying 'room for peregrines to let.' Obviously we feel quite sorry for the pigeons, but the peregrines would be there anyway."

In the meantime, the Queen might want to keep a close eye on her birds (or hire someone who will), or consider taking advantage of Sandringham House's vast open spaces for a little indoor fly-time.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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