how to make a bird talk

In the wild, birds are agile communicators. They use unique sounds to identify and bond with their flock. Their advanced communication skills help flock mates stay in touch while migrating over oceans, hunting in dense forests and scanning the sky for predators.

Considering how important “talking” is to birds’ survival in the wild, it’s perhaps no surprise that when we take them on as pets, they want to communicate with us, too.

“Birds hear people making these noises to each other and they think, ‘maybe if I make the same noises I can fit in with this flock,’” said board-certified avian veterinarian Dr. Peter Helmer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa, FL. “People usually respond positively, and that reinforces the behavior.”

With lifespans topping 50 years for some species, teaching a pet bird to speak gives you the opportunity to form a unique, long-lasting relationship that would be hard to replicate with any other pet.

“There’s a level of communication and bonding you can’t have with any other animal,” said Dr. Laurie Hess, a board-certified avian veterinarian and owner of the Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics in Bedford Hills, NY.

Here, find out more about which common pet birds are the chattiest and how to train your bird to talk.

Then, Figure Out Your Bird’s Favorite Rewards

Teaching a bird to talk begins, like training any other animal, with breaking the desired behavior down into manageable, easily rewarded behaviors. From there, the bar is gradually raised.

According to the doctors, most birds are driven by physical affection, but some will go above and beyond for a tasty snack. Try experimenting with small cracker pieces, peanuts, or sunflower seeds. With the exception of avocados, chocolate, and salty foods, birds can generally eat almost anything humans eat, according to Hess It’s also recommended to avoid anything with caffeine.

Different birds have different tastes. Finding the treat that your bird prefers is a crucial step in developing a strong bond with them, according to Helmer.

Which Birds are the Best Talkers?

According to the doctors, some species of Amazon parrots and African grey parrots have a higher probability of learning to communicate than others. But they’re not the only ones. Hess recalled having a little parakeet patient who could speak Hebrew, Spanish, and English.

But most birds, no matter the species, don’t communicate until they’re around a year old, she added. It’s not clear why.

“It appears that their brains are processing language and sounds at an early age, just like children,” she remarked. However, it takes them longer to attempt to communicate back using what they’ve learned.

Even though they learn a lot in their early years, birds can acquire speech at any stage of development—it would just be more challenging to teach a bird to speak if it had been a poor communicator for the majority of its life. Helmer asserted, “You can definitely teach an old bird new tricks.”

Some species of birds have an amazing talent for vocalizations. If you own one of these animals, you may be itching to teach it to speak but are unsure of where to begin. Learn how to train your bird to vocalize and recognize words by following our instructions.

FAQ

How long does it take for a bird to talk?

Most birds take around a year to start forming actual words. Birds must be taught to speak like a child if you expect them to do more than mimic a handful of words/phrases you constantly repeat to them. Even some of the species known for exceptional speaking ability might not EVER speak.

What is the easiest bird to teach to talk?

Quaker Parakeet Because they pick up on human speech quickly, they are easier to teach and train for someone that is new to working with birds. Although they don’t have as wide of a vocabulary as budgies, quaker voices are a clearer, making them easier to understand.

Why won’t my bird talk?

While some birds pick up on human speech quite readily, some birds take months or even years to say their first word. Some will never talk at all—even owners that work with their pets diligently sometimes end up with a bird that won’t say a word.

What makes a bird able to talk?

Parrots, like all birds, do not have vocal cords, they cannot make the sounds that we make with the same method. They have an organ called the syrinx , in the trachea, which can reproduce, by a cognitive mechanism of imitation, any sound that can be imagined.