23 September 2011

Swearing? It's for the birds

The Fortean Times Breaking News section carried an amusing item a few days ago from a site called Treehugger. It seems that the tree topps of Australia are alive with a new sound - strange nonsensical conversations in English.

Once it was established that there were no Dadaist conventions anywhere on the continent and all sports commentators and right wing newspaper columnists were accounted for, heads were mightily scratched in puzzlement.... until it was realised that escaped parrots and cockatoos have begun teaching their wild bird counterparts a bit of the language they picked up from their time in captivity -- and, according to witnesses, that includes more than a few expletives.

Jaynia Sladek, an ornithologist from the Australian Museum, says that some birds are just natural mimickers, able to acquire new sounds based on things they hear around them. For birds kept as pets, these sounds tend to mirror human language -- but that influence doesn't cease even after said birds escape or are released back into the wild.

Once back in their natural environments, these chatty ex-pets eventually join with wild birds who, in turn, start picking up the new words and sounds. The remnants of that language also eventually gets passed along to the escaped birds' offspring, much like it does for humans.

"There's no reason why, if one comes into the flock with words, [then] another member of the flock wouldn't pick it up as well," Sladek said in an interview with Australian Geographic.

According to the report, 'Hello cockie' is one of the most commonly heard phrases feral birds are teaching in the wild, along with a host of expletives -- perhaps the last words those escapees heard after their frantic owners realized they were making a break for freedom.

And yet these birds make more sense than the typical EDL supporter!

4 comments:

Francis Sedgemore said...

"The remnants of that language also eventually gets passed along to the escaped birds' offspring, much like it does for humans."

Fuck yea, innit?

jams o donnell said...

Haha!

susan said...

I'd love to see the looks on the faces of those who get shouted at in their back gardens.

jams o donnell said...

Haha Susan it would e worth seeing!