Zoo Tries New Tactic With Its Foul-Mouthed Parrots

8 swearing birds get integrated with the rest of the flock
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2024 4:41 PM CST
Zoo Tries New Tactic With Its Foul-Mouthed Parrots
BRAWK! #$*#%^#!!   (AP Photo/Brandeis University, Mike Lovett)

There's nothing like cussing parrots to take the family fun out of a visit to the zoo. That was the predicament England's Lincolnshire Wildlife Park faced in 2020, when it took in five African gray parrots who could be mistaken for the love children of a sailor and a long-haul trucker. The birds were isolated from the flock, lest their potty-mouths infect the rest of the flock. Fast forward to 2024, and the zoo has taken in three more cuss-happy birds with "phenomenal, really bad language," park CEO Steve Nichols tells CNN. "Not normal swear words, these were proper expletives." But instead of isolating them with the original five dirty birdies, the zoo has a different plan: "We've put eight really, really offensive, swearing parrots with 92 non-swearing ones," says Nichols.

Essentially, Lincolnshire is rolling the dice that the rest of the flock will teach the eight miscreants some good manners and non-four-letter words. But Nichols acknowledges to the Independent that things might not go his way: "We could end up with 100 swearing parrots on our hands," which would make it one very "adult aviary." But as he notes to the BBC, it could also end up sounding like a truck stop in an entirely different manner: "We have about 30 birds who make the beeping sound that a reversing lorry makes. Hopefully, the rest will pick up on that." For now, there's some cursing back and forth between birds and bemused visitors and a warning sign: "We cannot be responsible for what you hear!" (For all the cussing, a study found the parrots are surprisingly kind.)

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