SG-621x798Who is Sir Grey?

Sir Grey is one of SassyRv’s two very precious mascots, the other his sister “DuckBird”. African Greys are considered one of the smartest of all birds, highly talented with talking and mimicking.

Add to this, Sir Grey is one of the most playful birds you could encounter. Day and night play is what he is anxious for.

Now 20 years old, Sir Grey and his sister DuckBird were just 6 months when they became a part of the Rodgers family. At that time the Rodgers had a very large number of birds and several aviaries in Kihei on the island of Maui.

A Sentient Family Member

To the Rodgers, Sir Grey is much more than a talking bird. Sir Grey is a “sentient being”. From meal time, to play time, bath time, to sleep time, Sir Grey is an active part of the Rodgers daily family life. Like humans, Sir Grey intelligently responds to the senses of sight, sound and environment, Sir Grey has cognitive awareness of himself, his surroundings and a perception of other environments in the world beyond his immediate surroundings (i.e. “He thinks outside the box”, he has true “consciousness”).

Gray-Bag-1Sir Grey actively exhibits:

Adaptability of mind, Application, Appreciation, Association, Attention, Concentration of mind, Contact Recognition, Deciding, Discretion, Disinterestedness, Desire to do, Distraction, Effort, Error, Feeling, Memory, Mindfulness, Perception, Perplexity, Pleasurable interest, Problem Solving, Reason, Sustained application and Understanding.


Capable of advanced self-defense, African grey parrots are intelligent enough to mimic different sounds to fool any predators. They also learn different kinds of voices from their surroundings. The latest scientific research shows that they can not only memorize a vocabulary of 1400 words but can use them in novel combinations to express real needs and comprehension. In other words, they understand what they are saying.

Some-Grey-Flying-LBeauty & Brains

An iconic bird made famous in literature as the constant companion of ‘Long John Silver’ in Robert Louis Stephenson’s Treasure Island, for its remarkable powers of speech. They are actually one of the oldest species kept by humans, with records of the bird dating back to biblical times. Understated beauty and a brainy no-nonsense attitude are what keep African Grey parrots at the peak of popularity.

At first look, African Grey parrots are a medium-sized, dusty-looking gray bird, almost pigeon-like – but a closer inspection reveals a bright red tail, intelligent yellow eyes, and an absolutely stunning scalloped pattern to its plumage.

The World’s Most Intelligent Birds

African Grey parrots are considered the most intelligent talking parrot in the world. Endemic to the rain forests of West and Central Africa. African grey parrots have a tendency to get attached to only one person. The relationship with the owner is a highly important factor that shapes personality, the talking ability and the lifestyle of African Grey parrots.

To demonstrate this, we direct you to the proof presented by Irene Maxine Pepperberg (born April 1, 1949 in Brooklyn, New York) is a scientist noted for her studies in animal cognition, particularly in relation to parrots. She is an adjunct professor of psychology at Brandeis University and a lecturer at Harvard University. Working with a now famous African Grey Parrot “Alex“, she had this to say:

“Listing Alex’s accomplishments in 1999, Pepperberg said he could identify 50 different objects and recognize quantities up to six; that he could distinguish seven colors and five shapes, and understand the concepts of “bigger”, “smaller”, “same”, and “different”, and that he was learning “over” and “under”.

Looking at a mirror, he said “what color”, and learned “grey” after being told “grey” six times. This either made him the first and only non-human animal to have ever asked an existential question (apes who have been trained to use sign-language have so far failed to ever ask a single question), or his parroting the question phrase was very luckily situated.

Alex was said to have understood the turn-taking of communication and sometimes the syntax used in language. Alex could add, to a limited extent, correctly giving the number of similar objects on a tray. Pepperberg said that if he could not count, the data could be interpreted as his being able to estimate quickly and accurately the number of something, better than humans can. 

If the researcher displayed irritation, Alex tried to defuse it with the phrase, “I’m sorry.” If he said “Wanna banana”, but was offered a nut instead, he stared in silence, asked for the banana again, or took the nut and threw it at the researcher or otherwise displayed annoyance, before requesting the item again. When asked questions in the context of research testing, he gave the correct answer approximately 80 percent of the time.

Preliminary research also seems to indicate that Alex could carry over the concept of four blue balls of wool on a tray to four notes from a piano. Pepperberg was also training him to recognize “4” as “four”. Alex also showed some comprehension of personal pronouns; he used different language when referring to himself or others, indicating a concept of “I” and “you”.

Alex died on September 6, 2007, at the age of 31. Alex’s last words to Pepperberg were: “You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.” These were the same words that he would say every night when Pepperberg left the lab.

Sir Grey was very talkative to Marileen, but would mostly listen to Dustin as he would learn from Dustin, then say things in similar voice to Marileen. But over all his cognition is top rate, he hears and responds to any conversation directed at him. He understands concepts not just words. He interacts as a family clown. He tries to make people laugh and loves when they clap at his spins, slider landings, etc. He asks for a “Cookie” in a funny way, when he wants a snack, but a cracker will d0. Many times he just says it to get Dustin to play with him. He loves boxes and buckets and will play for hours with them.

Dustin has been working with Sir Grey teaching him to count and respond to specific questions. Watch the video below to see what is possible, Grey had this potential:

Demonstration Video


Amazing Neo


Training Video


An Afternoon with Smokey


How to Connect with a Grey


Just a Stinker


Teach Your Bird Biting is Not OK


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