It has always been my experience that the more you talk to a parrot, the more they learn from you. I speak to them like another person. They do better with words being in context rather than randomly saying single words to them over and over. Say the same things for each action – Good Morning, are you hungry, good bird, It’s time for bed. Things like that will have a meaning and the bird will be more interested in learning. Parrots do not simply mimic us, they are trying to communicate. And Greys are especially capable of some basic communication using words. In a family room, he will be part of the activity, will listen to conversations and listen to the TV. But you also want to be aware of what is said around him because it is not good for them to learn bad words. While this might be funny at first, it can be very embarrassing when you have company and if he ever needed another home, it can be hard to find someone who will take a bird with an undesirable vocabulary. So treat him like you would a small child and keep the conversation and TV shows positive.
It is fine for him to be around the other birds some of the time, also. They will actually learn words from each other, as well as learn to make the natural calls each bird makes. A Grey can have a huge vocabulary so don’t worry if he learns to mimic the other parrots or learns to whistle. He will still talk. Give him time – generally once they start to talk, they like the attention so much they will learn other words very quickly. I have known Grey who learned sounds or words after hearing it just one time – another reason to watch what you say around him!
Enjoy your bird – he will be chatting away before you know it.
Thank you for asking Lafeber,