Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

She Walks the Walk; Will She Talk the Talk?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

She Walks the Walk; Will She Talk the Talk?

Article excerpt

Our cockatiel can't talk, or maybe she just won't. She sings beautifully - like a bird, actually. She also hisses when she's feeling peevish, and once I swore I heard her hoot. But she hasn't said a word since we got her a year ago.

We used to think it was because she was so young, and that given time she'd step up to the plate, phonetically speaking. But we can't cover for her anymore. Clearly, she's just not a talker. In fact, she stubbornly refuses to engage in conversation.

For the last 12 months, I've stood in front of her cage every morning and said "Hello!" until I'm too embarrassed to go on. My embarrassment stems from the look of concern Tweety always gives me, as if she's thinking, "What are you, some kind of nut?" At this point I think it's far more likely that our dog will have the last word, and the first one, too. At least he always looks as if he's about to say something. Part of the problem is that I've always been a skeptic when it comes to conversing with the animal kingdom. I'd be more than happy to hold forth with the celluloid Tweety Bird of Warner Bros. fame. But a real one? I'm just not sure. For me, this falls into the same category as clothing on animals: cats in bonnets, dogs in sweaters, cows in hats. It's just not natural, unless you like that sort of thing. Which brings me to my sister-in-law. She's like a combination Anne of Green Gables and Dr. Doolittle. She talks to the animals, all right, and they talk back. She has an Australian parrot named Tuppy who's a regular fountain of information, a chatterbox with wings. She also has three dogs, a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, a donkey, three goats, an occasional cow, and a rabbit. I bet they all talk, too, but she's too modest to admit it. She lives on a farm (you probably figured that out on your own) with her husband and daughter. She's good with all living creatures, including people. But lately I've been dodging her calls because I'm embarrassed by our dumbfounded bird. I just know I'll get an earful of Tuppy's latest bon mots, and then there'll be silence on the line while my sister-in-law waits for me to jump in with what Tweety's been up to. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.