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Firefighters Rush to Home Only To Discover a Parrot Impersonating a Smoke Alarm

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Get a parrot, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

Most people’s experience with parrots is limited to brief (and often pricey) interactions with the colorful birds at zoos or pet stores. Aside from being vibrantly colored, parrots come in a variety of sizes and levels of intelligence, ranging from the unassuming parrotlets to the imposing hyacinth macaw.

Parrots often live a long time, too, making them good pets for people who are willing to put in the work for the long haul. And despite their not-very-human form, they can make some very human-like noises and are capable of shenanigans we’d often expect from people.

I should know — I have two. A cockatiel and a parakeet: Not the biggest, not the brightest (in terms of intelligence or coloring), but they are mine and I love them.

But man can they make noise when they want to. Parrots are drawn to sounds, and each new noise they take a shine to is a beautiful gem that they diligently add to their arsenal. The louder and shriller the sound, the better.

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Along with a few songs, my cockatiel loves to imitate guinea pigs. He lived near one for a few months and picked up the sound they make when they know food is coming, and he finds great pleasure in waking me up in the morning by non-stop screeching the “guinea pig whistle” at the top of his little birdie lungs.

He also imitates the microwave beeps — both the beeps when you hit the buttons, and the 4-note beeping the microwave makes when it’s done heating something up. There’s something about how grating these noises are that just makes parrots swoon.

Jazz the parrot is no different, in that sharp sounds are some of his favorite. He’s an African grey parrot, one of the longer-lived and most intelligent of the parrots. And he’s sneaky.

He’s picked up the sound of a fire alarm. His owner, Steve Dockerty, doesn’t mention how he was introduced to the sound in the first place (perhaps one too many meals left in the oven?), but at some point Jazz heard the alarm, and he fell in love.

When you listen to the video, you’d never know the sound was coming from the bird except that he’s moving his beak and looks smug.

His imitation was so believable that even his owner thought his fire alarm was going off, so he contacted his carers to let them know. When the emergency response team came knocking at 3:45 p.m. on Nov. 14, they thought they were responding to a potential fire.


According to the BBC, they checked on the smoke detector, but still heard the alarm. They soon put it together, though: The noise wasn’t coming from the smoke detector, it was from the parrot.

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Jazz didn’t seem too put out by the day’s events. In fact, he didn’t seem bothered at all.

And if the video is anything to go by, Dockerty wasn’t too concerned either. Which is good, because he’s probably going to be hearing that alarm for a long, long time.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking