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Still Waters

Parrot arrested for aiding drug cartel

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Still Waters
A parrot in Colombia has been arrested after it was seized during a police drugs raid.

According to environmental authorities, Lorenzo the parrot was trying to tip-off a local drug cartel when officers conducted an undercover raid early Wednesday.

"This parrot was sending out alerts," said police officer Hollman Oliveira."You could say he was some sort of watch bird."

Authorities claim Lorenzo is one of nearly 1700 parrots seized by officials after being trained by drug traffickers to act as lookouts.

Lorenzo caused quite the stir on Wednesday as he was presented to journalists. The well trained creature even showed off his look out skills as he yelled out: "run, run you are going to get caught."

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Grandpa Greenman

It's a bird what are you going to do with it. Put it in a cage?

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MissMelsWell

Hmmmm.... I think the police are jumping to conclusions. It's actually quite difficult maybe impossible to 'teach' a parrot to say phrases especially in context.

"Freddy" is a yellow-fronted amazon parrot, and make no mistake, they can be extremely good talkers and like African Grey parrots are known for their clarity. But just because they speak clearly, doesn't mean they know what they are saying. They will say it because they like the sound of the phrase, but the words don't mean anything to them. And getting them to use a phrase in context (like during a police raid) without any prompting from a trainer or owner, is nearly impossible.

This bird just happens to like that phrase and enjoys saying it.... the owers probably thought it was funny and encouraged it, but training him to say it when strangers show up as an early warning system? I'm not buying it. They'd have had a lot more success training dogs to get the job done.

We humans tend to over-estimate parrots intellectual abilities because they can talk. I love parrots and had a LOT of them at one point, they're fascinating and one of mine was a master locksmith who was able to pick a tumbler lock and let himself out of his cage... but in general, they rarely do anything in context, but can present the illusion of being in context at times.

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saucy

hahahaha that's hilarious. "Run! Run! You're going to get caught!" LOL :yes:

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Druidus-Logos

Hmmmm.... I think the police are jumping to conclusions. It's actually quite difficult maybe impossible to 'teach' a parrot to say phrases especially in context.

"Freddy" is a yellow-fronted amazon parrot, and make no mistake, they can be extremely good talkers and like African Grey parrots are known for their clarity. But just because they speak clearly, doesn't mean they know what they are saying. They will say it because they like the sound of the phrase, but the words don't mean anything to them. And getting them to use a phrase in context (like during a police raid) without any prompting from a trainer or owner, is nearly impossible.

This bird just happens to like that phrase and enjoys saying it.... the owers probably thought it was funny and encouraged it, but training him to say it when strangers show up as an early warning system? I'm not buying it. They'd have had a lot more success training dogs to get the job done.

We humans tend to over-estimate parrots intellectual abilities because they can talk. I love parrots and had a LOT of them at one point, they're fascinating and one of mine was a master locksmith who was able to pick a tumbler lock and let himself out of his cage... but in general, they rarely do anything in context, but can present the illusion of being in context at times.

You make a common mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.

Darwin, my African grey, definately knows some contextual English. And other parrots have clearly shown this too.

It may be difficult for them to learn/establish, but it's definately possible. The reality is that some parrots at least have the ability to communicate about their held knowledge, thoughts, and even opinions.

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susieice

If I was the desk sargeant at that police station, I'd make that bird my mascot. Everytime someone was brought in and the little guy started yelling, I'd be sitting there in stitches. :lol:

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MissMelsWell

You make a common mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.

Darwin, my African grey, definately knows some contextual English. And other parrots have clearly shown this too.

It may be difficult for them to learn/establish, but it's definately possible. The reality is that some parrots at least have the ability to communicate about their held knowledge, thoughts, and even opinions.

Darwin might be exceptional. I had a blue and gold macaw who could be contextual at times (It was very unpredictable, but he was sometimes). But to be consistently contextual and to teach a huge number of them to be alarm systems vocally? (I think the article said 1700?) NOT buying it. At all. I had an aviary, with over 200 parrots, and spent years on the parrot showing circuit and I'm confident that most parrots wouldn't be able to be trained to be alarm systems. Are they smart? Yes, but worthy and consistent guards? No. Dogs are better for that.

Edited by MissMelsWell

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Druidus-Logos

Darwin might be exceptional. I had a blue and gold macaw who could be contextual at times (It was very unpredictable, but he was sometimes). But to be consistently contextual and to teach a huge number of them to be alarm systems vocally? (I think the article said 1700?) NOT buying it. At all. I had an aviary, with over 200 parrots, and spent years on the parrot showing circuit and I'm confident that most parrots wouldn't be able to be trained to be alarm systems. Are they smart? Yes, but worthy and consistent guards? No. Dogs are better for that.

Yes, you're quite right, and I totally agree, 1700 is far too much. I wasn't trying to defend that ridiculousness, lol.

I don't think Darwin is exceptional. I just think I put in the time and intensive one on one she needed. It's very hard, I will give you that. But I think many, if not most, parrots can come to at least some level of contextual UNDERSTANDING of English (or x language), whether they can speak it or not. Even if it's only things that bear relevence to them or interest them.

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Raina

This is the funniest thing I've read in a long time and even if the birds weren't actually trained to do it, it's still funny. :)

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Keel M.

Do Colombians speak English as a rule?

Edited by Scáthach

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:PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR:

Do Colombians speak English as a rule?

No, the article simply translated what the parrot said in spanish.

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Keel M.

Oh okay thanks. Admittedly I didn't read the article or I would've known that it was a translation. I just couldn't get past the absurdity of birds being arrested. It just put me in mind of the paranormal investigation shows who visit places in Europe and elsewhere that don't speak English as a primary language yet the EVPs they capture are magically in English.

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BiffSplitkins

Monty Python could have turned this into a skit back in the day. :tu:

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Princess Serenity

Oh okay thanks. Admittedly I didn't read the article or I would've known that it was a translation. I just couldn't get past the absurdity of birds being arrested. It just put me in mind of the paranormal investigation shows who visit places in Europe and elsewhere that don't speak English as a primary language yet the EVPs they capture are magically in English.

Not going to derail this. But they've got some EVPs that weren't in English. ^^

--

Poor birdie.

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American Chupacabra

They have a microphone up to it as if interviewing it. That's just sad. I agree with MissMeIsWell, I don't think parrots can really be trained to understand what they're saying. But even if they could, I certainly hope they found that bird a good home. Hopefully they didn't put it down, as authorities seem to like to do with animals found in raids that are trained to do something "criminal".

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BiffSplitkins

I hope the parrot pleads the 5th in court. Oh wait, they don't have that there do they? LOL

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8ball936

LMFAO could not stop laughing. Takes the lookout's fake crow call sound to a whole new level.

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Druidus-Logos

They have a microphone up to it as if interviewing it. That's just sad. I agree with MissMeIsWell, I don't think parrots can really be trained to understand what they're saying. But even if they could, I certainly hope they found that bird a good home. Hopefully they didn't put it down, as authorities seem to like to do with animals found in raids that are trained to do something "criminal".

Please look up Alex the African grey parrot (deceased). He did have quite a strong, though limited, understanding of what he was saying.

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theGhost_and_theDarkness

Please look up Alex the African grey parrot (deceased). He did have quite a strong, though limited, understanding of what he was saying.

I used to have a bird that understood shapes and colors. He wasn't even that old, I just spent a lot of time with him. He died very young, I think just over a year old. If he learned that much in the short amount of time that I had him, I'm sure he could have learned a lot more. I could set out four sets of shapes with three different colors in each set and ask him, for example, to get the green triangle, or the blue circle. . .and he would go and get them. After he died I got another bird, spent twice as much time with it, and it never learned a thing.

I think birds are like many other pets. . . You can train them, but some are easier than others. Some birds are considered to be smarter than dogs, so I see no reason why dogs are believed to understand and comprehend things better than they do. I understand intelligence testing in animals is really a moot point. . .its not really measuring intelligence, but comparing the animals reasoning to that of a humans. . .which is something completely different. . .BUT, seeing as though parrots score relatively high on these types of tests, that should mean that their reasoning skills are similar to that of a human. Hence, if every time a phone rings the bird goes "telephone", it knows that that is a telephone. You can say that its the bird saying the word its been taught to associate with that sound. . .but, isn't that what humans are doing when they speak, as well? Just mimicking sounds we've been taught to interact with each other and our world? Something which birds in the wild are also taught?

Edited by theGhost_and_theDarkness

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MissMelsWell

Please look up Alex the African grey parrot (deceased). He did have quite a strong, though limited, understanding of what he was saying.

Extremely familiar with him, and met Irene Pepperburg briefly at a convention back in the early 90s. Also met renowned trainer Mattie Sue Athens a couple of times. Alex was extraordinary, but he was the exception not the rule.

And, Grey's are noted for being able to do some cognitive reasoning... but training a huge flock of birds as watch birds? And amazons at that? Nope, still not buying it. And, the amazon from the story babbled that phrase over and over again even once at the police station which is a clear indication it's just a phrase he likes to say and he has no understanding of its meaning or use.

Come on if you have parrots, you know they get attached to and love to say the same phrases over and over again just because it's fun. My macaw loved to sing "tickle tickle tickle" for no reason what so ever. He just liked to say it. LOL.

Did he have some cognitive abilities? Yes, limited, but I can really only think of a handful of times he was truly contextual... but my dogs on the other hand actually quite contextual consistently. My birds VERY rarely were.

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Druidus-Logos

Extremely familiar with him, and met Irene Pepperburg briefly at a convention back in the early 90s. Also met renowned trainer Mattie Sue Athens a couple of times. Alex was extraordinary, but he was the exception not the rule.

Ah, I must have misunderstood your original meaning.

And, Grey's are noted for being able to do some cognitive reasoning... but training a huge flock of birds as watch birds? And amazons at that? Nope, still not buying it. And, the amazon from the story babbled that phrase over and over again even once at the police station which is a clear indication it's just a phrase he likes to say and he has no understanding of its meaning or use.

You're definately right. I agree 100%, I just didn't see what you meant exactly to begin with. I thought you denied ALL possible understanding.

Come on if you have parrots, you know they get attached to and love to say the same phrases over and over again just because it's fun. My macaw loved to sing "tickle tickle tickle" for no reason what so ever. He just liked to say it. LOL.

Darwin likes "pretty bird", "Peter", and "gotta light?", lol. I know what you mean, definately.

Did he have some cognitive abilities? Yes, limited, but I can really only think of a handful of times he was truly contextual... but my dogs on the other hand actually quite contextual consistently. My birds VERY rarely were.

I'll grant this, totally. But, it should be noted that dogs are hierarchical and have evolved to listen to you, to try to gather context from you. Parrots aren't; they live for themselves. So they aren't that inclined to intrinsically find the context in your speech and apply it to their own.

That's why it is the exceptional parrot like Alex that displays full abilities, not all parrots. I DO agree with you.

Also, dogs are continually underestimated. I place them near corvids, cetaceans, and great apes in terms of general intellect and social ability. I really think they have something like theory of mind for interacting with us.

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Emin

Bad bird! Incarcerate it in complete isolation! :angry2:

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Donnie  Darko

Aww poor bird. These people are such idiots, arresting a parrot! Really people??! Is this what the world has come to? Murderers are free, Rapists are free, but a parrot is under arrest? Not to mention investigating pigeons for spying?? Where is the love? :(

Aww poor bird. These people are such idiots, arresting a parrot! Really people??! Is this what the world has come to? Murderers are free, Rapists are free, but a parrot is under arrest? Not to mention investigating pigeons for spying?? Where is the love? :(

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cluey

:w00t: that's priceless that..........

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MissMelsWell

I'll grant this, totally. But, it should be noted that dogs are hierarchical and have evolved to listen to you, to try to gather context from you. Parrots aren't; they live for themselves. So they aren't that inclined to intrinsically find the context in your speech and apply it to their own.

I think the biggest difference is that dogs have been domesticated for thousands and thousands of years. Parrots on the other hand, even when born and raised in captivity are still wild animals and no where near domestication. With 2 exceptions. English Budgies and Lovebirds are considered domesticated, cockaties are near domestication status. The big parrots have a LONG way to go.

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