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November 2 2012
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is trying to find a good home for a parrot that swears all the time. Why do parrots repeat things that humans say?
Because there aren’t any other birds around. Most animals are born with their species’ distinctive calls programmed into their brains. Parrots are among the few animals, along with dolphins, whales, hummingbirds, songbirds, bats, and some primates, that learn their species’ communication patterns. Wild parrots typically only repeat the sounds that other parrots make, although they’ve occasionally been observed mimicking other species. When forced to live with humans, parrots repeat what their owners say.
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