The parrots in this animal park won’t stop swearing. Especially Sheila

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As it happens6:19 a.m.The parrots in this animal park won’t stop swearing. Especially Sheila

Steve Nichols admits his wildlife park’s new plan to stop its rudest parrots from swearing could end up backfiring.

Previously, Lincolnshire Wildlife Park in eastern England kept its parrots with a penchant for profanity away from the public.

Today he has decided to move his eight swear-laden African grays to a new public enclosure alongside 92 much more polite parrots. The hope is that the family birds will rub off on their raw counterparts, not the other way around.

“The idea was to go down the risk channel. Let’s take them out and see how it goes,” said Nichols, the park’s general manager. As it happens host Nil Köksal. “Whether we’re going to become an adult sanctuary or not, I have no idea.”

A parrot attacks its owner

Nichols says it’s not uncommon to encounter parrots that swear. After all, he says, they learn it from their owners.

But in 2020, the park’s parrot sanctuary ended up taking in an unusually high volume of vulgar birds: five African gray parrots in five days, all returned by their owners who dropped them off with a warning about their colorful language.

One woman who apologized tried to blame her husband for teaching the parrot to swear, he said. But African grays, he says, don’t just imitate words: they also match precise pitch.

“So they don’t just say the word. They say it with your voice. And while we were doing the paperwork, the parrot swore by chance, and he swore with the lady’s voice,” he said declared. “She turned red when she heard it and realized she had been caught.”

A gray parrot with a red tail feather perches on a branch and tilts its head.
He is one of eight parrots at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park who swears like a sailor. (Submitted by Steve Nichols)

New arrivals always spend 45 days in a quarantined space before joining the other parrots, Nichols said. And it turned out that the birds had a bad influence on each other.

“I was working in the office next to their quarantine station, and I heard the language and I honestly thought it was some of our volunteers for the charity. And I thought, I better to go there and tell them to calm down a little. a little.” » said Nichols.

“When I walked in, I was quite shocked to find that there was no one there, there were only parrots in there.”

Nichols refused to repeat the birds’ bawdy language on the radio, but said one of their favorite phrases “starts with F and ends with F.”

When park staff first introduced the birds to the public, they swore like sailors at visitors, including young children, Nichols said.

“Our knee-jerk reaction was: Oh, we’re going to get ourselves into trouble here.”

Sheila, say hello

So the swears were separated and placed in the introduction area of ​​the aviary – a smaller space inside the main enclosure, where they could still socialize with the other parrots, but were away from the public.

The hope was that without anyone to laugh at their foul language – or repeat it to them – they would give up the swearing.

“And it worked to a certain extent,” he said, noting that they still occasionally dropped verbal bombs.

A gray parrot perches on a branch, facing the camera, with its beak open.
One of the park’s prolific users of profanity. (Submitted by Steve Nichols)

But this year, the sanctuary welcomed three new parrots – and they are even worse than the original five.

“We couldn’t believe it,” he said.

Nichols says there are three categories of swear words. First, you have mild swear words that even children can sometimes say. Then there are the mid-level swear words that most adults use regularly.

“But then we have the next level, which is… what we classify as bad words – words that you don’t really find pleasant in most situations. And those are usually very strong words for adults.” , did he declare.

“And, unfortunately, the last three that came in – two of them, particularly the one called Sheila – are really, really going to the extreme end of the scale of what people can hear.”

A gray-haired man looks off camera, a yellow, blue and green parrot perched on his shoulder.
Steve Nichols is the general manager of Lincolnshire Wildlife Park in Boston, England, home to the charitable National Parrot Sanctuary. (Submitted by Steve Nichols)

The facility recently built a new parrot enclosure that is accessible to the public, Nichols said. And last Friday, staff installed the eight swearing parrots there, alongside 92 others. Signs warn the public that they may hear foul language.

The new plan already poses some problems.

“We’ve heard that people are coming here to see them swearing. And if they’re not swearing, then people are swearing to try to encourage them,” Nichols said.

But whatever happens, he doesn’t sweat too much.

“In what seems like a very serious world right now… a very light-hearted story like this seems to have captivated everyone,” he said.

“So somehow, whatever they did, it’s like they created a smile that looked like a Mexican wave from here to Australia and back.”

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