25 November 2007

Feed-me noise, parrots, m & f, and chattttter

It is that time of year for the Australian king parrot. This one, from dawn to dusk, is shadowed by three fledglings, none of whom has a sweet Please, sir gurgle. This snapshot was taken when he was trying to hide in a cheese tree. Note the eye, at half mask. Will he blend in and and be a leaf, at one with the tree, invisible to those who seek him? Fat chance!

Male King Parrot adult (Alisterus scapularis)

The feed-me call of baby parrots, and king parrots in particular, is as metronomically unmusical as the leak from the i-pod players that make public transport such a joy.

Adult male king parrots are such sooks.

Far easier to get a feed from than the females, adult male king parrots are lower than bass in the king parrot 'community'. Upon red-headed maturity, they commence lives bossed by babies, females, spotty adolescents, and even smaller parrots such as those audacious mouthfuls, the rainbow lorikeets.

Not so, with us. The sound of these babies doesn't bother me (though I have unladylike fantasies when I travel next to a music-lover), but I can't stand the fretfulness that these cries cause the male of my species.

The sounds made by bothered male humans are varied, so that might be why they are not listed in Professor Trevor Cox's "Bad Vibes" study, an ongoing work that you can participate in, see what drives humans to murder, compare reactions to crying babies, and vote: Bad Vibes

Do king parrots gossip?
Another sound that doesn't come up in the bad-vibes study is the noise, actual or virtual, of gossip.
Gossip does more than ensure topics of conversation – it can provide a more powerful bonding experience than any outward-bound course. Exchanging news about another person puts the gossiper and the receivers in an exclusive group from which the victim is necessarily excluded. This makes an " in-group" which, say social psychologists, is the very essence of strong bond formation. Sharing "secrets" with select others, hearing your own views reinforced by your friends and having the opportunity to scapegoat someone else – all these elements of gossip help bolster your own sense of group membership.
– psychologist Sandy Mann, The art of gossip: 'No! I don't believe it',
The Independent

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