If we had a bird that could say “hello, good fortune, good-bye, fuck you,” we’d be so thrilled we’d introduce it to everyone we know. Hell, we’d let it write Grist List. But officials at a Chinese zoo whose Myna bird learned a dirty phrase apparently feel differently, because they put the smack-talking bird in lockdown.
Myna birds can imitate human speech. This one was imported from Vietnam in 2010, and lived happily for several years in a zoo in China’s Hubei province, saying only “hello,” “good fortune,” and “good-bye.” But some enterprising human taught it an unnamed foul phrase and now the bird’s in solitary, the Telegraph reports:
To avoid contaminating its cage mates, the animal, which was not named, has reportedly been placed in solitary confinement where it is undergoing “special training”.
Keen to rehabilitate the foul-mouthed bird, zookeepers have been playing it tapes containing “polite words”. Future offenders will be deprived of food, the newspaper added.
Not totally clear whether they mean the bird will be starved for using unsavory language, or humans who try to teach birds to cuss will have their food taken away. Neither is great. If only the bird actually understood what it was saying, it probably would want to learn all sorts of new foul language to use on its captors.