Piko-chan, a two year old parakeet that resides in Sagamihara city in Japan's Kanagawa Prefecture was looking for an adventure. So, a few weeks ago, when its 64-year-old owner Furnie Takahashi accidently left its cage door open, the beautiful bird took off, to explore the big wide world.
Unfortunately, it landed on the window of a nearby hotel where, it was promptly captured and taken to the authorities. The police placed the runaway bird in a cage while they tried to figure out how to locate the owner. Then about two days later, probably bored, the cheerful bird blurted out its exact address, ending what could have been a long and tedious investigation.
Furnie Takahashi was of course quite happy to see her pet safe and even, held a press conference to show off her smart bird. She said that this was not the first time Piko-chan had escaped, which is why, she had taught the mischievous parakeet its address.
While impressive, Piko-chan is not the first parrot that has been able to say or do something smart. However, the question of whether these birds really understand what they are saying or are simply mimicking their human owners is still something scientists are struggling with.
The fact that parrots develop their own unique dialects and even songs in the wild is well-known. While scientists do not know for sure why they have evolved this capability, they believe it may be something to do with telling their groups apart from rival groups of the same species. That may be the same reason experts believe that captive birds learn human language - So that they can be accepted and become a member of the family they live with.
However, do they really understand what they they are saying? Some animal experts do not thinks so. They believe that the birds just repeat things that earns them attention or even treats from their human family. So if a simply squawk does not generate any excitement but 'pretty bird' does, that, is what the bird is going to keep repeating.
However, researchers like Irene Pepperberg who was able to train an African Grey Parrot named Alex to memorize 100 vocabulary words, numbers phrases and also identify names of toys, their color and shape, disagree. They believe that the birds actually understand what they are learning and that every response they give, is well-thought out.
What do you think? Did Piko-chan really understand what the police wanted from him or did he just blurt out phrases he knew would get him attention?. Be sure to let us know, by adding your comments below.