Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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A friend of mine in California who handfeeds European starling chicks and then sells them as pets, refers to them as “the poor man’s mynah bird.” This video should give you an appreciation for how talented these birds are as mimics [3:27]


  1. #1 Anon
    October 24, 2008

    Ok, that’s actually really creepy.

  2. #2 Alan
    October 25, 2008

    One thing I have never understood about talking birds. Starlings and relatives incorporate mimicry into their songs, so it is not hard to understand how they can be taught to talk. Parrots however in the wild do not mimic, so why can they be taught to talk? Or is “talking” qualitatively different in parrots from “talking” in starlings etc?

  3. #3 Fumi
    October 25, 2008

    Talking bird

  4. #4 Fumi
    October 25, 2008

    Handfed European starling chicks

  5. #5 Daphne
    October 25, 2008

    OK…I want one of these guys!!! Hahaha! I have 11 parrots of my own…but this Starling is adorable!!

  6. #6 Laura
    October 27, 2008

    in response to Anon about why birds talk. Birds talk because they can. Companion birds talk because they want to. Though you can teach them things, they say what THEY want to say. People in general don’t have a clue as to how intelligent parrots are. They have the intelligence level of a 3-4 year old human. They have the temperment of a 2 year old…for up to 70+ years! When they speak, in general, it is cognitive, not mimicking, although some mimick sounds. I am owned by an 8 year old Umbrella cockatoo. He tells me “Good morning sweetheart” every morning when I uncover him. When he is out with me, he looks me in the eyes and tells me ” Lets go poopie” when he has to go. I take him to his stand, he goes, and then tells me ” Common, lets go” when he is finished. Birds are awesome and fascinating creatures!!

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