A gifted African grey parrot who can whistle “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” and the theme to The Addams Family has been reported to Norfolk, United Kingdom authorities as a source of noise pollution. Last week proud 62-year-old owner Stephen White was informed by the West Norfolk Council that a neighbor had been fitted with noise monitoring equipment. They want to prove that the talented bird is breaking the law.
The Telegraph reported on the story about what happens when an apparently humorless neighbor collides with a boisterous bird. The Daily Mail confirmed the story.
White said the African grey parrot named Buddy lives indoors and has never gone outside. “[The investigation is] a complete waste of taxpayer’s money, and the council has fallen for it,” he said.
An unnamed council spokesman said that they were required by law to check out all noise complaints.
An unnamed neighbor reportedly logged the “Old MacDonald” whistling parrot’s every vocalization for two months. The noise monitor is now placed in her home.
But so far the jury is out on whether or not 12-year-old Buddy really violated the noise pollution laws by his exuberant singing. The council hasn’t taken any action against White or the African grey parrot while the investigation continues.
African grey parrots are one of the most intelligent animal species on the planet. A bird trained early can eventually develop an amazing ability to mimic songs and phrases.
With special care, talented grey parrots like the ones studied by Dr. Irene Pepperberg’s Alex Foundation can learn to use words in context to get what they want. Many people rate them as having roughly the intelligence of a three to five year old child.
And, with good care, these intelligent birds can live for decades.
That raises a question that the UK authorities really haven’t addressed about the African grey. If the talented “Old MacDonald” parrot is removed from a home where he’s loved for singing a little too loud, where will he go?