On Smoke Alarms and African Greys

African Grey parrots are incredible. Along with their distant cousins the Yellow Nape and Double Yellow Head Amazons, they are near perfect mimics of sounds around them. Some are expert speakers. Mine is a sound effect and whistle queen. I’d record her sound effects displays, but she goes deadly silent as soon as I bust out a camera or iPad. *sigh*

Here: a demo of African Grey sound skills. This is not Masika the Greyt, but rather another African Grey.

That one is a Congo African Grey.  Masika the Greyt is a Timneh.  Here, check out her darker grey and her maroon tail:

Masika came out 2

From time to time, Masika surprises me with a new sound or whistle. Last summer it was the opening notes from Doctor Who.  This fall … the smoke alarm.

No, I was not burning something in the kitchen, but the smoke alarms in the house started acting up. Naturally, they only do this at 2:30 in the morning. I assume that’s the unwritten rule of smoke alarms: if they go awry, it must be at 2:30 in the morning. There’s a corollary to that rule. If more than one is going to go nuts, they’re not going to do it on the same night. A couple nights a week or so apart were disturbed by smoke alarms demanding new batteries. Never mind that I had just replaced them last June.

Masika, never one to neglect a new noise, was definitely paying attention. Last week, she cut loose with a piercing BEEP that sounded like a dead-on match for a grouchy smoke alarm. She even nailed the somewhat electronic quality of the beep.

One evening, as she was going through her litany of sound effects, including her new smoke alarm beep … several times … at regularly-spaced intervals, my pa came in and looked up at the smoke alarm on the ceiling.

“Is this the one that’s beeping?”

Without looking up from my computer, I shook my head and pointed to the Greyt one, right about the time Masika decided to squeak out her newest sound.

“Oh, it’s your bird?”


Yep. It was the bird.

I find many of her sound effects amusing. I’m hoping she gets her fill of this one soon and meanders on to the next.


2 thoughts on “On Smoke Alarms and African Greys

  1. “Oh, it’s your bird.” Doesn’t sound properly appreciative!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s