Did you know that parrots can live to be 80 years old? These resilient creatures aren’t just beautiful, they also talk, sing and dance. Like pop icon Lady Gaga, their performances are pitch-perfect and entertaining. But singing isn’t the only way these birds are similar to music’s biggest star. Here are 7 things that Lady Gaga has in common with talking birds:
1. THEY ARE INTELLIGENT CREATURES
The native New Yorker and vocally expressive birds have both proven that they’re at the top of the IQ charts. In middle school, Lady Gaga participated in a summer program sponsored by the John Hopkins University Center For Talented Youth. Eligibility for this program is based on SAT, ACT, or similar scores. Other famous people who participated in that program as youths include Mark Zuckerberg and Sergei Brin. These programs are typically aimed at the top 1% in terms of IQ. She is fluent in both English and French (and dabbles here and there in Italian and Russian). Many famous classical composers (Bach, Hayden, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Strauss, Wagner) were all estimated as having IQs between 160 and 170. Considering the rarity of gifted composers at Gaga’s level, it’s not too big a stretch to suppose she might be in that company.
Gaga’s not the only one who’s gifted with words. While parrots have the distinction of being able to mimic human speech, studies with the grey parrot have shown that some are able to associate words with their meanings and form simple sentences. Parrots and the corvid family of crows, ravens, and jays are considered the most intelligent of birds. The parrot with a claim to be the cleverest of all time is an African Grey called Alex – an acronym for Avian Language Experiment. He was the subject of a 29-year study by Dr. Irene Pepperberg who claimed he was as intelligent as a five-year-old child. Apart from having a vocabulary of 100 words, Alex could identify 50 objects and distinguish seven colors and five shapes. With their expansive vocabulary and keen memory, parrots are the most intelligent birds in the world.
2. THEY ARE CLEVER
No one has ever called Gaga basic, that’s for sure. The pop superstar is known for her outrageous costumes and unconventional red carpet presentations. The most famous being the meat dress that she sported to the 2010 MTV VMA’s. The ensemble, constructed out of raw flank steak, was designed by Franc Fernandez as a statement highlighting her distaste for the U.S military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy. As with her other dresses, it was archived but went on display in 2011 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after being preserved by taxidermists as a type of jerky.
The ability to use tools is often considered a measure of cleverness in animals, and parrots are no exception. The palm cockatoo, a parrot native to Australia, beats a stick on a hollow tree to show his prospective mate that he owns his own home and she can move in. A parrot’s beak is an effective tool in itself. Using the beak, a parrot can peel the skin off a grape or crack open nuts or seeds. In Australia, wild cockatoos have been reported disassembling the screws from microwave towers. Whether they’re just amusing themselves or exercising their beaks aren’t known.
Perhaps the reason parrots can live to be 80 years old is that they make sure they get their calcium? Parrots are known for creating tools out of sticks to crush up calcium-rich seashells that they need to build the shells of their eggs. Both Gaga and parrots are resourceful and use their cleverness to construct things in an unconventional way.
3. THEY CAN FLY
The 2017 Super Bowl halftime show headlined by Lady Gaga began like any ordinary performance as she stood atop a building and sang a mashup of various American patriotic hymns against a backdrop of twinkling red, white and blue star-like drones. But then she jumped off the platform and actually flew down to the main stage, suspended by nothing more than two cords as she descended, appearing to attempt to twerk (or something like it) in midair. Fans all over the world were blown away by the unexpected surprise.
Depending on their weight, parrot’s flight distance varies, but they will normally stick to a range of about 1500 to 3000 acres. At the crack of dawn, they will begin to make their daily “rounds”. It’s not uncommon for a large macaw to stop at 20 or 30 places during the day covering anywhere from 50 to 100 miles. They will forage for food on the ground, under rocks, in rotted trees and even the branches of trees that they land upon.
4. THEY ARE ANDROGYNOUS
Jo Calderone is a fictional male alter-ego to Lady Gaga created in 2010. She lived as this character for three days, appearing as Calderone on the 2010 MTV VMA’s and remaining in character for her “You and I” music video. Her message was a call for transformation, both on and off the stage.
Jo Calderone isn’t the only one whose gender is unclear. In parrots, one cannot easily distinguish between the males and females. They are identical, and a special blood test is required to know them apart.
5. THEY ARE OFTEN BRIGHTLY COLORED
Sun Conure parrots have nearly the entire rainbow on their bodies with red, yellow and orange on their heads, chests, and wings, and green and blue tail and flight feathers.
Not only has Gaga given her signature blonde locks an upgrade by adding blue-green tones on the left and a peachy-orange color on the right, but she’s also been flaunting head to toe, multi-colored Versace outfits all around NYC.
6. THEY SHOW EARLY SIGNS OF VOCAL TALENT
Long before attending Convent of the Sacred Heart, a posh all-girls Catholic school in Manhattan, Gaga was writing and composing music. She started playing the piano when she was 4 years old and composed her first piece at 13.
Similar to the pop icon, parrots are capable of learning to mimic sounds at a young age. As early as 6 months old, parrots will begin to repeat words and phrases.
7. THEY ARE SOCIAL CREATURES
When times are tough, Gaga is lucky to have to have an A-list squad to lean on. After canceling her tour and going public about her struggle with fibromyalgia, her buddy Beyonce sent her an Ivy Park hoodie to stay warm. That’s what friends are for!
Parrots are social creatures too. They are flock animals, traveling and feeding together as a group. The majority of the activities in which they engage are done as a group. As prey animals, the health and integrity of the flock are essential to their ability to survive. However, the flock brings to a single parrot many other things besides feelings of safety and security. The flock provides an opportunity for frequent and variant social interaction, learning skills, and just good fun.
Intelligence, talent, and resourcefulness make both Lady Gaga and parrots exceptional creatures. Their unmatched vocal gifts and musicality are what set them apart from the rest. Lady Gaga may be a star on the stage, but with their beauty and musical gifts, parrots are the stars of the wild!