General Flash Fiction posted October 9, 2019

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If at first you don't suck seed... (50 words)

Talk is Cheep

by LisaMay

He’s intelligent – he goes to Polly-tech. We like playing hide-and-speak. He’s never at a loss for words when he makes phone caws – what a chatterbox!
Sometimes he gets his feathers ruffled and flies off the handle at me.
At least he doesn’t tweet all night, but he’s becoming a birden.


Author's Note:

This is number 11 in the series of my hypothetical 'new boyfriends' - working out what attributes are worthy.

Due to their long life, ability to mimic human speech and overall intelligence, African grey parrots are among the most popular bird species kept as a pet in Europe, the USA and the Middle East. They have an extremely long lifespan - they live an average of 60 years, with some birds reaching 80 years old. Because they have such long lives, they often outlive their human owners, meaning that they may have to go through traumatic rehoming. In their natural habitat, African grey parrots can travel up to 10 kilometres a day. No domestic setting can match flying free through the luscious African forest! This species of parrot is monogamous. In nature, they also display behaviours such as bi-parental care, and show altruistic behaviours such as grooming each other and regurgitating food to feed others (a bit gross, but it's a sweet gesture).

Wild African grey parrots are highly social and nest in large groups, comprising small family groups. This species manages complex social relationships and cooperate with other members of the group. When kept as pets, their need for social interaction isn't met, so the birds often get stressed and display self-harming behaviour, like ripping out their own feathers.

As a result of the extensive harvest of wild birds, in addition to habitat loss, this species is believed to be undergoing a rapid decline in the wild and has therefore been rated as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
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