I love the recent article about the parrot that returned home after four years - and now speaks Spanish.

That's one smart pajaro (bird).

I've always admired the intelligence of exotic birds, even if you couldn't pay me to own one. A super-smart, squawking, talking chicken of many colors? No thanks.

Parrots aren't just smart, however. They can also be mean. I recall a former cello instructor's evil bird. At my first lesson, my teacher stressed that I could never ever curse, because her bird would hear it and never forget.

Well, the problem came when the darn thing would mock me. When I played something well and my teacher praised me, the bird was quiet. But when I scraped the strings and her praise was insincere, that dang bird would laugh its head off.

Come to find out, that's when it was hardest not to curse.

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