Contests in which parrots and other birds are judged based on their appearances are a long tradition…but what about their other qualities? Participants in human beauty pageants are judged on both appearance and talent…and now, it seems, that parrots are as well in some contests. Recently, an African Grey Parrot named Mishka won the World Wide Parrot Talking Competition – without having to reveal any “skin”!
The contest, sponsored by Besttalkingparrot.com, attracted 60 talented parrots from points as widespread as Chile, Canada, Australia and Africa. The winner, three-year-old Mishka, resides with her owner and family members in a small apartment near Johannesburg, South Africa.
In addition the coveted title of “Best Amateur Talking Parrot” (is there a “Best Professional Talker”?), the clever bird was also awarded a new cage, a pile of toys and a starring role in a soon-to-be-released parrot-training DVD. Hopefully, other parrots viewing the DVD will be inspired to emulate her fine vocabulary and, as it has been described, “delightful accent” (please see video below).
A Lovable but Mischievous Neighbor
At home in South Africa, Mishka is the unofficial “mayor” of her apartment complex. Despite continually fooling neighbors with cries of “Call the police!” and impersonations of wailing police sirens, it seems that she is loved (or at least tolerated!) by everyone.
A propensity for swearing, and even for directly insulting her owner, is blamed on the owner’s sons…unfortunately, teaching Mishka not to swear seems harder than teaching her to swear! In Mishka’s defense, another favorite expression is “Oh, oh, I’m in trouble!”…so she may be trying to mend her ways.
Her longest phrase in “I want to go to the Kruger Park with Sterretjie” (Sterettjie is her favorite companion, a Ring-Necked Parakeet).
Mishka was acquired by her owner at age 3 months, and showed a propensity for speaking early on. She responded very well to parrot-training CD’s – and soon she’ll be starring in one of her own!
A Sadder Note on African Grey Parrots
Despite have been bred regularly in captivity for some time now, surprisingly large numbers of wild African Greys are still illegally trapped and sold as pets.
Recent months have seen a spate of confiscations in Uganda and elsewhere, which makes one wonder just how many smuggled birds are escaping detection. Even when birds are seized, enforcement problems abound…in one recent case, officials of the Democratic Republic of Congo actually returned over 500 confiscated parrots to dealers who were clearly in violation of the law (please see article below).
Video of Mishka in action
Conservation Setback for African Grey Parrots
African Grey Parrots decline Throughout Central Africa
African Grey Parrot Natural History
African Grey Parrot image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Eli Duke