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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Question To old to learn??

Okay, Abe, my cockatiel is a little over a year or so. He can do a couple different whistles (wolf-whistle, imitation of calling my name, and a couple other things).

I heard something once that after a certain age, that if they don't speak, they never will. I didn't hear the age that went along with this but I was just wondering if it was true or not, and if it was, how old is too old to learn??

Another question. I'm concerned about his beak. My mom said she thinks its just coloration, but I'm not so sure about it... Under neath one of his nares, there is a brown line all the way to the end of his beak. What is that? Is it just coloration or is something wrong healthwise? Should I be concerned??

If you need a picture I will try to post one...

-Mallory

ps-thanks for any help...


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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, here is a picture off the webcam...


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 07:13 PM
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Usually the best way to get a cockatiel to talk is to NOT repeat their whistle to them. That's so hard to do, because it's fun going back and forth with them. My daughter's cockatiel was saying just a few words before he was a year old, and my parent's is trying to talk (or so my mother says - I'm not sure!) Start with something simple. Erin started with repeating her bird's name whenever she would walk in the door (because they always whistle at you then) and he soon learned to say that. (Bee-Bop, in case you wonder!). Pretty Bird is usually pretty simple. Pick an easy phrase and just repeat it over and over and you go about other chores you may be doing.

I'm not sure about the beak; that may have something to do with his age. I'll have to hit the books on that one unless someone else can come through with an answer.

Good luck with the talking! They have "small" voices so you have to listen closely, and sometimes it takes somebody who isn't around him as much to come in and say "Listen, he's saying ____". My senegal is beginning to talk and it is so funny because her voice is small and mechanical.

Keep me up to date on how he does!

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I've been trying to always say either "Pretty Birdie!" or "I'm Abe!" So Pretty Birdie (or Pretty Bird) is pretty popular and simple for a "beginner" hee hee. ;c) Thats good.

Knowing that they have to articulate more then humans as they don't have lips.... ;c) ... Is there certain letters or words that are more difficult for them to learn? Because if "I'm Abe" is too hard, I will stick to just Pretty Birdie...

Which makes me wonder... haha, sorry! ... should I only say one thing? Or is it okay to say both?

(thanks again, I know I'm asking questions galore!)

-Mallory


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 07:20 PM
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I just have a comment on the too old to learn thing ... it may be a myth, I dunno - but I read somewhere that if a bird whistles or sings, it won't talk, and vice versa.
It seems true of my Boss' Amazon, he's in his 20's and sings opera - but the only word he says is "Hello". He's lived 15 years with her B&G Macaw who talks quite a bit (and taught my Eephus quite a few words in the year and a half he was there), but only says that one word.
Eephus tries to whistle, he tries so hard, but what comes out is really odd - you can tell he's trying to wolf whistle, but it's weird sounding ... he picks up new words and phrases all the time though.

My opinion, my "guess" is that they should be able to learn no matter what age.

Sharon
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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intresting Sharon!

Thanks, I'll keep trying. ;c)
-Mallory


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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-17-2003, 08:20 PM
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I've read and been told that, too, Sharon - that once they start to talk they won't whistle (and vice versa).

Sounds they can't make? Not if you listen to Henry. He won't say "green" - I think it is some sort of Eclectus insult. (I'm always saying "Mama's green bird".) I think I would take it a bit slow and try just one phrase until he learns that - let him get the "feel" of talking - then try something else one at a time. "Hello" works well. "Good morning" "What are you doing" is one all of my birds have said. Pick something short that you aren't going to have your family throwing things at you if they hear you say it one more time! (Henry loves mornings; he whispers then that he's "Daddy's pretty bird" and "Daddy's sweet, sweet bird". Obnoxious! He is finally saying Mama and is good on "Give me a kiss" - another one you can try.)

Can you get Abe to be still long enough to feel of his beak? It almost looks like a crack instead of a discoloration - but that's just from looking at the picture. If it is cracked you may want to take him to the vet and make sure what they want you to do. Sometimes they put a bit of glue on them, you may have to cut back on food that is hard to crack for a while, etc. Does he eat his veggies? Sweet 'taters from the baby food dept. are really good, as is rice!

CRITTERCALL


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-18-2003, 12:18 AM
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It will be very difficult to teach your 'tiel to talk, but if you are persistant it can be done.
Since he started whistling first the easiest way to teach him to talk is with a short phrase that you can say in a "sing song" voice that will almost mimic the lilting cadence of a whistle.

Try "Hello Baby" - almost sing it (gosh this is hard to describe!) emphasizing each syllable like **** oh bay BEEE).

When he whistles to you go to him and instead of whistling back (which is just oh so much easier and the knee-jerk response! )

Walk up to him (or look at his face if he is sitting on you) and say "Hello Baby". Be persistant and consistant.

He may start repeating, "hello" followed by mumbling or an off pitch whistle... if you hear mumbling, YAY All birds will mumble new words and phrases before they speak them clearly. It's as if they are practicing! His voice won't ever be as clear as a Gray, Amazon or Macaw..... but it will be cute and squeaky and sometimes very fast, so make sure you repeat things slower then you would normally say them.... it will come out of your 'tiel at almost the right speed

My male 'tiels both whistled before they spoke and they both learned to speak. Repetition is the key... don't give up.

If he's just over a year old he's still very young... I'm betting you
can get him to speak

I'm with Critter on the beak... I can't tell if it looks cracked, but if it is I'd let a vet have a look at it.
Good Luck! Abe is a cutie

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-18-2003, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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I'm looking right now, and its not cracked.... Unless cracks are very very very fine and difficult to see....

To me it just looks like coloring, not a split.


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-18-2003, 10:10 AM
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It would be difficult to see - unless it was a HUGE crack. Can you run your fingernail across it and see if it feels smooth (and not lose a finger in the process)?

This one concerns me because there was a 'tiel at the aviary who had lost the entire top of his beak. I don't remember how - I think an Amazon got him. But he was sooooo pitiful. Couldn't eat anything, because he didn't have a way to keep food in his mouth so he was being tube fed when he was a year old or so. It was such a sad situation. It did not end well for the bird.

Abe doesn't look like anything nearly so bad as that; if you can feel a crack take him to a vet. Otherwise, like everything else, just keep an eye on it and let us know how it goes!

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-18-2003, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, when I was at home and first read this post, he was out and on my shoulder. I had him "step up" onto my finger and though he is actually pretty hand shy (SHY! uhm, how about hand eater) he let me feel it a little. Figures, yesterday I cut my nails, and everytime I'd try to feel it with my nail he'd freak out and try to bite me. (I guess he saw more finger and figured it was going to hurt him. ) I honestly don't think its a crack. But I noticed too, if you look closely there is another one just like it on the other side of his beak also from the nare to end except its much lighter. It neither looks like a crack, I'll have my mom use one of her nails later tonight to see if she feels anything grab or catch.

*sigh*


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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-18-2003, 09:59 PM
 
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Ugh! I'm coming in on this thead way to late....sounds like you've already received some great advice though!! Good tips from everyone!

Is he beak just pealing by any chance?
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-18-2003, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Yes I have gotten a lot of good advice. I've been holding him a lot more lately (just figured today maybe he would like to sit on my shoulder while I'm on the computer... well he did but he wanted to walk across the keyboard and take dump in between the insert and delete keys... gah!) and he seems to like to play with my necklace.

I told my mom and dad that the only thing we're going to say to him is pre-TEE burd-EEE and say it slow. He keeps looking at me funny. Its like he's thinking, "What the heck is wrong with you. You used to whistle back, ya moron!" ha ha... Well hey I'll keep trying. ;c)

-Mallory


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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-19-2003, 04:41 PM
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Good luck with the "pretty birdie"!! Sounds like you're determined to make him a good pet and having good luck so far. That's great!

BTW, the pic you posted was great. What kind of camera do you use? I have a Canon 35mm and a Sony digital, but the web cam sounds like a fun toy!

CRITTERCALL


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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-19-2003, 05:03 PM
 
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I can't help with the beak but just wanted to say good luck with trying to get him talking. I have a tiel that only says "pretty bird"
I've been trying my hardest to get him to say hello. It sounds almost like he whistles hello if that makes any sense!

We have had some constuction done to our house the past few weeks and he picked up some power tool sounds! He has the cordless screw diver down pat!
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