Say What: Bad Polly

A large part of the way we talk, walk and react is influenced by our parents. It is a known fact that children pick up their parents’ behaviour, but have you ever thought about how a pet parrot might do the same?

Some birds learn to communicate through social learning and listening to their parents. Due to the lack of vocal cords, birds are assumed to make sounds using throat muscles and membranes (syrinx). Although the difference in their anatomy limits their ability to mimic all sounds. Parrots are very good talkers, but this is subject to the amount of training they received from a very young age. No matter how well they are trained, it is extremely rare for them to develop the ability to become competent talkers.

In an amusing incident in Chandrapur district, Rajura, Maharashtra, a parrot was arrested for saying obscene things to an eighty-five-year-old. The eighty-five-year-old lady, Janabai Sakharkar, accused Suresh of teaching his parrot, Hariyal to abuse her. She stated that every time she passed by Suresh’s house, Hariyal would pass obscene comments. It would only be natural to call him a mocking-bird.

Although the accusation sounds absurd, the Rajura police station called in all the concern parties to the station. For a system that is constantly believed to be slow to react, its interest in the case sure seemed to prove otherwise. What’s more, is that Suresh is Janabai’s stepson and that they are currently in a property dispute. Police Inspector P.S. Dongre believes that the land dispute could be the reason for the parrot’s behaviour. This means parrots make the world’s worst secret keepers. They’ll pa-rat you out, and there’s no stopping them.

Even though Hariyal didn’t crack while at the station even after being confronted by Janabai the authorities said that the change in the surroundings could have kept him from uttering a word. Perhaps if they had taken another crack-er to it, it would have paid off. They also stated that there is a possibility that Hariyal could have picked up the words from Suresh as is typical for parrots to repeat out loud random words that they hear frequently. If cursing is bad then cursing in from of your parents is even worse.

Hariyal did not utter a single word, in spite of that the police decided not to let him go home to his owner; instead, they put him in the care of the forest department for rehabilitation.

Written by Cynthia Maria Dsouza for MTTN
Edited by Tanya Jain for MTTN

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