A group of African grey parrots at a British wildlife park have become social media stars for their foul mouths. The parrots at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park learned explicit language from guests and are now teaching it to other birds. Park officials have hatched a risky plan to try and curb the foul language.
Park’s Plan to Dilute Swearing
The park is taking the parrots, named Eric, Jade, Elsie, and Billy, out of their enclosure and mixing them with a larger flock in hopes it will discourage them from swearing. However, experts warn integrating the foul-mouthed birds could backfire and spread profanity through the entire flock.
Park chief executive Steve Nichols said keeping the parrots separate “was not working” to stop them swearing. He explained:
“It’s quite tricky because we can’t put these parrots with another collection of the same parrots that we have because they’ll teach them to swear as well. The idea is we distribute the sworn parrots through the flock so they lose the habit of swearing.”
Guests Encourage Swearing
The African greys picked up profanity from guests who came by their enclosure encouraging them to curse. Nichols said the birds “enjoyed the reaction they get from the guests” when they swore.
One guest, Rachel Malik, tweeted about her experience with Billy the parrot:
“You never tire of being told to F*** off by a parrot.”
While many visitors seem amused by the foul-beaked birds, their explicit language has ruffled some feathers.
Backlash Over Blue Language
The park has received several complaints from angry parents whose children overheard the swearing parrots on visits. Some critics accused the park of encouraging and profiting off the birds’ bad behavior.
Nichols defended the park’s handling of the situation:
“The visitors that come have been very accepting and find it very funny. But we do get some complaints because we have to remember these birds are in an open part of the park. So therefore children or elderly people who don’t expect to hear loud verbally explicit language can sometimes get offended.”
Swearing Spreads to Other Birds
Park officials tried putting the parrots in different areas of the wildlife park to isolate them. However, their influence spread and other parrots began picking up and imitating their blue language.
Nichols said even parrots not previously prone to profanity had started swearing:
“We have got some African greys that have been here for quite a while that have never sworn, but because they’re hearing others do it so often they are now starting to copy.”
The park currently has around 50 African grey parrots in its care. With the explicit language spreading to more birds, officials decided integrating the foul mouths into the larger flock might be the best chance to curb further contagion.
Colourful History of Swearing Parrots
This is not the first time parrots have ruffled feathers with R-rated language. In 2020, a UK animal sanctuary had to separate five African grey parrots for excessive swearing.
Like the Lincoln park parrots, those birds learned explicit words from humans. Their blue language upset staff and volunteers at the sanctuary. Workers tried to curb the cursing by reducing interaction time with the public.
However, the birds kept shouting profanities at staff caring for them. The sanctuary finally resorted to separating them into two different areas so they would not encourage each other to keep swearing.
What’s Next for the Foul-Mouthed Flock
It remains to be seen whether the Lincoln park’s integration plan will clean up the parrots’ language or spread more foul mouths through the flock. Some experts warn adding the swearing birds risks “infecting” more parrots.
Animal psychology researcher Dominic Wormell from the University of York told Gizmodo:
“The risk here is that the established flock will indeed ‘learn’ the swear words from the new arrivals. It risks ‘infecting’ more parrots with the swearing behavior.”
If the integration fails, the park may have to resort to more extreme measures. Nichols said the next step might involve building a new enclosure just for the swearing birds where guests can not encourage their explicit language.
For now, the notorious potty-mouths remain the stars of the show. Videos of the birds cursing have gone viral online, amassing millions of views. The extra social media exposure will likely mean big crowds eager to witness the parrots’ profane diatribes.
While some see the vocal birds as a headache, others find them endlessly amusing. Until the cursing can be curbed, guests will continue getting an earful from the park’s foul-mouthed feathered attractions.
|Explicit Words Used
This table shows the names of the swearing parrots and examples of the explicit language they have been documented using around park guests. Only specific foul language used by Eric and Billy has been reported.
|Many visitors find the swearing birds funny and entertaining
|Some visitors complain about the inappropriate language
|Spread of swearing
|The explicit words have been picked up by other parrots not previously known to swear
This table summarizes the reactions and impacts of the parrots’ foul language around the park. The birds have both delighted and offended guests. Their swearing has also been learned by other parrots.
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