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article imageMeet Disco, the beatboxing, Swedish-talking parakeet with a heart Special

By Elizabeth Batt     May 30, 2012 in Lifestyle
Rochester - When it comes to talking, singing, acting and beatboxing, this male parakeet from New York can't be beaten. Meet Disco, the strutting, barking, meowing bird with a phrase repertoire unlike any other.
"Disco, meet the Disco, he's a dabba dabba doo bird, dabba dabba do bird, he'll be a gay old bird."
So sings Disco as he jaunts and struts about his home in an eastern suburb of Rochester, NY. But this is only a fraction of what the bird can say and do. Flintstones aside, Disco's delightful displays make other birds – and people, just feel better.
In the video above, Disco hilariously lets loose with, "What seems to be the problem Officer? I am not a crook, I am Disco. I'm a parakeet. Bird to your mother." He follows this with a burst of 'Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto,' barks like a dog, meows like a cat and pats himself on the back for being a "Pretty pretty biiirrd."
This green-colored parakeet, also referred to as a budgie, is in fact so fluent he talks up a storm in English, Swedish and a smattering of German and French. Parakeets do talk and can talk well, but darling Disco's repertoire is exceptional and he leaves his fine-feathered friends in the dust. For example, Disco picked up beatboxing in about a week for goodness sake!
Disco resides with a family of three humans, a recently-rescued miniature schnauzer named Freddie, and an old tuxedo cat, Mickey. Digital Journal caught up with Disco's friends, Judy Bolton and her daughter Addie, to find out more about this talented critter.
So how old is Disco and have you had him since he was young?
Disco just turned two this past weekend! We got Disco when he was four months old as a present for my then-6 year old daughter, Addie. We know he’s a May 2010 baby, but the breeder (who follows him on Facebook, and is a real sweetheart), doesn’t have the actual date any longer, so we decided last year to just celebrate every Memorial Day weekend.
How many phrases does Disco have now in his repertoire?
Wow, based on the list we keep, it’s currently 53, and we’re working on phrase #54 now. Some of his phrases are pretty long, too, like “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto” and his version of the Flintstones’ theme song. I keep a running list of phrases we want to consider, many of which come from his fans on Facebook and Twitter. He even has a few non-English phrases, including “Jag älskar dig,” which means “I love you” in Swedish; he learned that phrase when a Swedish parakeet buddy from Facebook was very ill.
Addie with Disco.  She’s grown up with animals   said Addie s mom Judy   and she knows we have to ...
Addie with Disco. "She’s grown up with animals," said Addie's mom Judy, "and she knows we have to treat them with great care and respect – animals can teach children a lot about the world."
Image courtesy of Judy Bolton
The owner of the Swedish bird, Nalle, was understandably very upset about her pet bird’s illness, and teaching Disco “Jag älskar dig” was one way we could try to comfort her from far away. Disco has also been mentioned as “something that makes you laugh” in someone’s therapy plan while undergoing cancer treatment. Disco really seems to make people happy all around the world, which in turn makes us happy, and makes us enjoy him even more – it hasn’t hurt our daughter’s geography knowledge, either!
Having watched one of his videos, parakeets can talk very well but Disco is just exceptional. Most birds just learn a phrase or two, but Disco could host his own show. What's the secret?
I wish I knew! I think it’s a combination of factors: Disco was hand-raised by a breeder who only raised a few birds at a time; Disco was then cared for and sold in a highly reputable, bird-only pet store; Disco is male, and while females may talk some, males seem to talk a lot more than females; we spend a LOT of time with Disco, not just talking but playing; and, probably the most important piece in the puzzle, Disco simply seems to be interested in learning new things. When we teach Disco something new, it’s obvious to us that he is very interested – he will stand as tall as possible to get closer and closer to our mouths.
Does Disco ever sound like a bird?
Yes, when he’s not busy mimicking us, the cat, or the dog, he sounds like a parakeet a lot of the time – and we’re glad, since they make some pretty cool sounds, including some great warbling. Occasionally he even sounds like other birds – we think he mimics our local blue jays.
So what is Disco's most favorite thing to do?
Ask him and I am sure he’ll say, “Eat millet!” He loves his toys for sure, including his disco ball and bells; he went through a stage where he’d chase after paper airplanes our daughter threw for him. He also has a thing for throwing his little mesh jingle balls over the side of the cage, and he watches to see who will retrieve them for him; if he thinks it’s been too easy, he will wait until everyone is sitting comfortably and then he’ll throw them again.
So what's next for Disco, America's Got Talent maybe?
Well, it’s been suggested to us, but if that means Disco has to travel, I am not sure he’d be interested. Additionally, he certainly does talk a LOT, and much of the day, but not on command; the audience might end up getting a good show of him preening or napping. (Although he does talk while he naps!) If people are chatting generally, Disco will chat along the entire time (we’re one big flock, I guess), but when Disco thinks everyone is talking TO him, he is quiet and seems to be listening to what everyone is saying.
Disco:  Are you a pretty bird or a baby bird?
Disco: "Are you a pretty bird or a baby bird?"
Image courtesy of Judy Bolton
Disco talks so well that others sometimes believe the family is faking the videos posted on YouTube. "He is not a fake" Judy says, "I have better things to do than fake parakeet videos. Parakeets are among the top talkers in the bird world, right up there with their bigger cousins."
Having been raised with talking birds, I concur.
Of one thing there is little doubt, the delightful Disco is going viral. There are many more videos of Disco on his YouTube Channel, and at his Facebook page. You can even "tweet" him via Twitter.
But before we fly off into the sunset, we couldn't resist one last video of this avian phenom. "Hasta la vista baby bird."
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