Parrots live a long time and like most people, they get grouchier as they get older. Some pet owners can’t take it anymore and dump their pets in the U.K.’s National Parrot Sanctuary, where “parrot whisperer” Steve Nichols bonds with 414 birds.

Brady Haran writes in that Nichols knows the names of every one of them. He says, “I have got a natural affinity with parrots…When a wild creature will jump off the tree and come walking over to you, and when it has been someone’s bad pet, then I think I just feel so special.”

At the current rate people are dropping them off, he expects the number of parrots in the sanctuary to go up to more than 1,000 in the next two years. One woman brought her parrot there after it began attacking family members. He’s opened up the sanctuary to visitors and is charging admission so he can keep it going. Every year he goes through 4 tons of seed, 2 tons of fruit, one ton of nuts, 600 cooked chickens and several Christmas turkeys.

One of his special problems is that he has to change the ring on his cell phone every few days, because the parrots start mimicking it. Nichols says, “Most people just don’t realize what they are getting themselves into when they buy parrots….They are still wild animals and can be very difficult. It’s not like dogs which are domesticated and have been living with humans for thousands of years.”

We should learn how to Communicate with our pets, so we can work out our problems. After all, we used to speak their language.

To see photos from the parrot sanctuary, click here.

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