Broadcaster David Attenborough last night sensationally claimed that he’s directly responsible for teaching parrots how to talk and considers it his crowning achievement. Addressing the room during a conference at the Natural History Museum, the 98 year old national treasure claimed that he came up with the idea of teaching birds to use language during a period of downtime between filming in 1954.
“We were in the jungle and the cameraman was pissing about with his tripod and this little cockatoo came and sat next to me on a log” he said. “I started chatting to it and it looked interested and seemed to be replying with a series of twits and tweets. I began showing it how to form sounds using its tongue, much like you would with a young child” he continued. “After an hour or two we’d moved on to the alphabet and by the end of the day the bloody thing was chatting away like an after dinner speaker”.
The Blue Planet presenter went on to explain that before he’d had the brainwave there was absolutely no record of avian life replicating human speech. “No one had ever thought of teaching a parrot how to talk but I’d seen them replicating other sounds in the jungle such as monkeys and that...so I thought it might be worth a crack”.
“I guess that little cockatoo went off and taught one of his mates and so on and so forth until it spread around the world and now it’s just one of those things we all take for granted” he added.
“Every time I see a parrot talking in a pirate film or saying the word fuck on Youtube or something I just can’t believe it. I just think back to that afternoon in the Amazon and think...I did that...I made that happen. It’s not every day that you change the behavioural pattern of an entire species”
Attenborough, who already appears on the list of 100 Greatest Britons and has over 20 species named after him (none of which are parrots) went on to explain how he was going to keep it to himself but decided it was an achievement he wasn’t willing to take to the grave. “I wasn’t going to say anything because I thought that people wouldn’t believe me but when I look back over my life I really do consider teaching parrots how to talk up there as one of the most important things I’ve done in my career”.
When asked to verify Attenborough’s claim, Mrs Bithiny Horsebasket who is currently the Head of Life Sciences at the museum said “If Sir David says it’s true then it’s true...even though the earliest reference to a talking bird comes from the 5th century BC and video footage of birds talking exists from long before he was born...he’s the boss what he says goes”