Bird People like seeing other people’s birds doing stuff. Dancing, singing, talking, anything that involves birds, especially parrots doing the charming, the funny or the out-and-out amazing. Many of these videos have gone viral on Youtube, causing these birds to be Facebook “water cooler” talk and usually landing the Caregiver on “Letterman,” “Ellen,” or any number of other media outlets. And Bird People can’t get enough of them.
It’s even better if you find a little-known video of a bird doing something really cool on Youtube. For example, let’s say it has, 75 views. You throw it on your Facebook wall, and two weeks later it has over a million hits. We can then get all smug about it and take credit for “Discovering” the video and causing the viral spread of it.
When a Bird Person shows their “Frisbee Dog Person” friend a video of Snowball whooping it up with a load of scientists at the World Science Festival , they tend to take a moment of gratification from it. “Look at that bird boogie! Take that, “Frisbee Dog Person!”
We enjoy being included in this world of the smart and clever. Some of us have birds that can perform some behaviors, but unlike Dave Cota’s Indian Ringneck, A.J., I think it’s very safe to say that most of our birds can’t play golf.
The names of these birds have become common household terms among Bird People. If I was to say “Snowball” to a Bird Person, they would know immediately who I was talking about. Snowball is probably the best example of a bird taking over the universe for 15 minutes.
But the King Kong, Godzilla, heavyweight champion of intelligent birds on video is of course Alex. Irene Pepperberg’s African Grey, Alex passed away a few years ago, but the Alex Foundation lives on and he remains the benchmark “smart bird” of all time. Alex and Irene’s work with him gave us permission to believe our birds really are as smart as we think they are.
I have a framed, autographed copy of this photo in my guest bathroom.
Alex was so smart and so fabulous on video that any footage of Alex is as revered in the fictional library of “Bird Video Classics.”as “Citizen Kane” and “Gone With The Wind” is among movie buffs. Makes a Frisbee Dog Person want to weep.
The appeal of these videos is not just because they’re funny, cute, clever or amusing. It gives Bird People a sense of belonging to a tribe where these outstanding birds doing these amazing behaviors are a part of our world. For a few minutes we are no longer “Crazy Bird People.” We have associated ourselves with the “Popular Kid at School,” even though it’s a flippin’ bird that we’ve never met and most likely never will. But if we did, we’d want our photo taken with him.