By Robert Firth
A bird lover has taught her gifted pet parrot to paint, play basketball and high five – but admits the multi-talented bird is still afraid of flying.
Binx, a one-year old Amazon parrot, was taught her first trick by Nycole Chevalier, 32, just a day after she collected the bird from a parrot breeder.
Since then, she has taught the quick-witted parrot to fetch like a dog, play basketball and even load a shopping trolley through daily lessons at their home in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The human-like parrot is now learning to skate on a bird-sized skateboard but has so far resisted her owner’s encouragement to fly more, preferring to walk around and shunning the company of Nycole’s two other parrots, Jazz, one, and Cash, six months, for that of other people.
Nycole, who works as a saleswoman, said: “Binx is like a miniature person.
“She likes interacting with humans, but she’s not a fan of spending time with other parrots.
“Binx learnt how to fetch quicker than any dog I have ever had.
“She will get things I throw from behind the couch, whereas often dogs won’t get a ball when it goes out of sight.
“She does not like flying though.
“I’m trying to teach her to fly through hoops to get her to fly more. I’m trying to remind her that she’s a bird.”
Nycole teaches Binx, who she’s had for about one year, new tricks by directing the parrot with her hands and then giving her treats when she performs the activity correctly.
She believes any parrot can be taught tricks if trained from day one. The easiest activities to teach them are putting hoops on sticks, spinning around and rolling over – tricks that she taught Binx in the first few months of getting her.
Nycole shares Binx’s latest tricks on her Instagram page @binx_the_bird along with the exploits of her other two pet parrots.
Nycole said: “The more you treat parrots as part of the family, the more human they will act.
“Binx learnt how to do high fives from watching a video with me on YouTube.
“I had tried to get her to do it before, but I don’t think she liked my big hands waving in her face.
“I use two fingers instead now.
“You communicate with parrots through sign language, so you will always have a sign that you want to use to encourage them to do any trick.”
Nycole has also trained her precocious parrot to play bowling, match coloured shapes together and throw darts at a dartboard.
She has acquired two other parrots since welcoming Binx to the family, Jazz, a one-year old lorikeet and Cash, a six-month-old sun conure.
And while neither have yet come close to matching Binx’s multiple talents, Nycole intends to teach them the same skills too.
She said: “I’ve taught the other two parrots to wave, roll over and spin.
“I’m trying to teach Binx to skateboard at the moment.
“She has already learnt how to hop on the skateboard.”
“My friends love my birds and they come over to just hang out with them.
“My husband James used to hated birds and he didn’t want one. He would have preferred a dog.
“But now after seeing Binx is more talented than a dog, he isn’t bothered about getting one and just wants more birds”