A parrot that was kicked out of the National Animal Welfare Trust sanctuary for swearing learned how to use Amazon’s Alexa and orders items online when the owner is away, according to the The Times of London.
Sanctuary worker Marion Wischnewski volunteered to take the parrot, named Rocco, in at her home in Blewbury, Oxfordshire.
Rocco was kicked out of his sanctuary for bad language, but fate led him to his one true love. 😍😂
The Times reported that Rocco apparently learned how to use the Amazon smart speaker device to order fruit such as watermelon and strawberries. The animal also attempted to order ice cream, a kite, and light bulbs.
Wischnewski said she has to check her account every day to see if the parrot, an African grey, has ordered something.
“I have to check the shopping list when I come in from work and cancel all the items he’s ordered,” Wischnewski was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying. “[Alexa and the parrot] chat away to each other all day. Often I come in and there’s music playing,” Wischnewski told the publication.
A parrot is using an Alexa device to order things from Amazon https://t.co/A7KMm5Vqlm
— The Independent (@Independent) December 15, 2018
None of the orders become purchases because she placed a parental lock on the device to prevent it from happening.
“He knows the telephone and can make different mobile ringtones,” Wischnewski told the Times. “He can do the microwave or the squeaking door on my fridge. He can do the ice cream van in the summer, and a truck reversing so loud you think it’s in your living room.”
When it was kicked out, the parrot created “a few issues initially in the office, by swearing regularly and throwing his water bowl around,” CNET reported.
CNET reported that Rocco has also “fallen in love” with the Alexa device owned by Wischnewski.
Parrots on the Decline
African grey parrots, however, are going extinct because of the pet trade.
“Uncannily good at mimicking human speech, the African grey (and the similar but lesser-known Timneh parrot) is a prized companion in homes around the world. Research has shown that greys can be as smart as a five-year-old human child, capable of developing a limited vocabulary and even forming simple sentences,” says National Geographic.
It adds: “The grey parrot has a wide historic range across West and central Africa—1.1 million square miles (nearly three million square kilometers)—from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in West Africa, through Nigeria and Cameroon and the Congo forests, to Uganda and western Kenya. Ghana accounts for more than 30,000 square miles (75,000 square kilometers) of that range, but losses of greys there have been some of the most devastating.”
Zanne Labuschagne, tourism and communications advisor for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Congo, told The Dodo that in the parrot trade, “50 percent [die in transport]; other people say that one in 20 make it all the way from where they’re caught in the wild to the pet trade.”
Due to the belief that parrots are intelligent birds and their speech ability, they’ve become highly sought-after pets, which is both a blessig and a curse.
“They’ve developed this reputation for being these incredibly intelligent birds,” Rowan Martin, African program director for World Parrot Trust, told The Dodo. “They certainly are, but I don’t think they’re exceptional amongst parrots or even among birds.”