Parrot Uses Amazon Alexa to Order Items While Owner Is Away!

Rocco with his Amazon Echo. Credit: INS News Agency

A parrot that was kicked out of the National Animal Welfare Trust sanctuary for swearing learned how to use Amazon’s Alexa and orders items online when the owner is away, Sanctuary worker Marion Wischnewski volunteered to take the parrot, named Rocco, in at her home in Blewbury, Oxfordshire.
For many of us, Alexa is a handy helper around the house. For Rocco, however, Alexa is the soulmate he's been searching for. The African Grey parrot caused a bit of trouble in his previous home, at the National Animal Welfare Trust sanctuary in Berkshire, after upsetting visitors due to his blue language. He was then rehomed - and his new abode is where he discovered Alexa. But Rocco's love for the virtual assistant device may not be as pure as initially thought he started using the Amazon Echo in his new home to order all the things he likes to eat. Living with his new owner. Sanctuary worker Marion Wischnewski Rocco has been causing a whole heap of mischief with Alexa serving as his partner in crime. His breed is highly well known for its mimicking skills, meaning he was able to add his preferences to a virtual supermarket list. Marion said: "I have to check the shopping list when I come in from work and cancel all the items he's ordered. None of the orders become purchases because she placed a parental lock on the device to prevent it from happening.."On his list, he's added a whole range of fruit and veg, including melons, broccoli and raisins (pretty healthy) along with ice cream (ok, not so healthy). He's also ordered some pretty random stuff such as a lightbulb and a kite well, why not? To be fair, Rocco doesn't only cause havoc with his shopping demands. He's been known to ask Alexa to play his favourite music songs by Kings of Leon, to be exact."They chat away to each other all day. Often, I come in and there's music playing," Marion added talking about her parrot's 'relationship'.“He knows the telephone and can make different mobile ringtones,” Wischnewski said. “He can do the microwave or the squeaking door on my fridge. He can do the ice cream van in the summer, and a truck reversing so loud you think it’s in your living room.”When it was kicked out, the parrot created “a few issues initially in the office, by swearing regularly and throwing his water bowl around,”It turns out Rocco isn't the only parrot to cotton on that he can order from Amazon last year another African Grey from London (we're seeing a common trend here) started sending gift boxes to itself. Buddy, from Greenwich, can be a bit of nuisance he not only orders from the online shopping site but copies his owners' voices. It would, at first, seem that purchasing from Amazon is too easy but it seems to me that this is simply the start of the parrots' rise to power. Never mind worrying about the 'planet of the Apes' looks like the parrots are taking over. African grey parrots, however, are going extinct because of the pet trade.
“Uncannily good at mimicking human speech, the African grey (and the similar but lesser-known Timneh parrot) is a prized companion in homes around the world. Research has shown that greys can be as smart as a five-year-old human child, capable of developing a limited vocabulary and even forming simple sentences,” says National Geographic. It adds: “The grey parrot has a wide historical range across West and central Africa 1.1 million square miles (nearly three million square kilometres) from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in West Africa, through Nigeria and Cameroon and the Congo forests, to Uganda and western Kenya. Ghana accounts for more than 30,000 square miles (75,000 square kilometres) of that range, but losses of greys there have been some of the most devastating.”Zanne Labuschagne, a tourism and communications advisor for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Congo, said that in the parrot trade, “50 per cent [die in transport]; other people say that one in 20 make it all the way from where they’re caught in the wild to the pet trade.”Due to the belief that parrots are intelligent birds and their speech ability, they’ve become highly sought-after pets, which is both a blessing and a curse.“They’ve developed this reputation for being these incredibly intelligent birds,” Rowan Martin, African program director for World Parrot Trust, said. “They certainly are, but I don’t think they’re exceptional amongst parrots or even among birds.