18 May 2012

Educated Paroquet Entertains Crowd

The Baltimore American gives the following account of a troupe of trained Java sparrows and parroquets, now exhibiting in the streets at that city: —
"When a suitable place is found, a circular table is opened, and the birds are all turned loose upon it; they manifest no fear at the crowd, and do not offer to escape. The performance consists of ringing bells, trundling small wheelbarrows, slack wire walking, firing off pistols, dancing, swinging each other in small swings, an excellent imitation of a trapeze performance, and a number of other equally interesting tricks. The most wonderful part of the performance, however, is done by a paroquet. This bird walks to the center of the table, and after bowing to the crowd, seats himself in a small chair near a bell. To the clapper of the bell there is attached a small cord, and any one in the crowd is allowed to ask the bird to strike any number of times upon the bell. If asked to strike ten times, he leaves the chair, seizes the bell rope, and pulls it ten times, after which he bows and returns to his seat. This was repeated a great many times, and with one exception the bird made no mistake. The bird will strike twenty-seven times, but after that he refuses; and his owner states that he has worked nearly a year to get this bird to strike up to thirty, but it appears that his memory gives out at that point, and it is unable to count further. A collection is, of course, taken up after each exhibition."
December 10, 1874. Educated birds. St. Lawrence Plain Dealer 19(22): 4. Issued at Canton, N.Y.