African grey hearing

AFRICAN GREY CONSULTATION
Heard Husband Coming Home

by Sally Blanchard

We know that African greys are smart and have incredible vision, but what about their hearing? I did a new bird consultation with a baby African grey. I love to get people started right with their parrots. The woman kept in touch with mini-consultations just to check that her grey was developing properly. A couple of years later she called me with an interesting question. About 5 or 10 minutes before her husband walked in the front door after work, the grey would start to say “Daddy’s home”. He didn’t come home at the same time each evening but it was usually from about 5:30 to 7 pm. The lived at the top of a hill in San Francisco and there was a lot of traffic at that time in the evening.

I suggested that she call her husband on his cell phone (they were big clunky things then) when the bird started his announcements. After a few days, it became clear to them that the man was in the same place about a half a mile away from home. He had a vintage sports car and was starting up the hill on his way home. Each time his wife called, the cell phone consistently rang just after he shifted gears to start up the hill. I thought that it happened too many times to be an amazing coincidence. We could only presume that the grey was able to hear the sound of the gear being shifted and pick it out from the many other sounds of the city. I haven’t found that much scientific information on parrot hearing. I have read that their hearing is more sensitive than ours. If this African grey is an example, their hearing is pretty exceptional.


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