Five African grey parrots at a British zoo – named Billy, Eric, Tyson, Jade, and Elsie – have been separated after they were caught encouraging one another to swear at humans for attention.
The Lincolnshire Wildlife Park has over 200 of the birds, but these five in particular kept hurling profanities at guests to the point that it’s become a serious problem.
“We are quite used to parrots swearing, but we’ve never had five at the same time,” the zoo’s CEO Steve Nichols told the Associated Press.
“Most parrots clam up outside, but for some reason these five relish it.”
Because they kept telling visitors to “fuck off”, among other things, the parrots have now been separated.
Apparently the birds loved it when guests laughed at their foul
mouths beaks, and they’d keep egging each other on to repeat profanities in order to get those laughs they craved so much.
While most people found this understandably hilarious, the zoo said, ultimately the parrots had to be stopped from introducing young kids to words beyond their years.
“With the five, one would swear and another would laugh and that would carry on,” Nichols told BBC News.
“I’m hoping they learn different words within colonies – but if they teach the others bad language and I end up with 250 swearing birds, I don’t know what we’ll do.”
That’s right. If these birds who are addicted to swearing don’t kick their habit, we could end up with a swarm of 250 profane parrots. Just imagine.
But while the zoo thinks what they’re doing is protecting children, maybe they’re just stifling evolution. After all, if it makes the parrots happy, and it makes the humans laugh, is this behavioral adaptation not a win-win?
Instead, the zoo’s hoping they’re learn different, more PG words now that they’re split up into different colonies.
There’s already precedent for that. Earlier in the year, Chico the yellow-crowned parrot went viral for being able to sing a killer rendition of Beyoncé‘s “If I Were A Boy” as well as songs by Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Gnarls Barkley.
Given the zoo’s no-swearing policy, one would imagine Chico sticks to the radio edits.