05:49
TED2006

Einstein the Parrot: A talking, squawking parrot

Filmed:

This whimsical wrap-up of TED2006 -- presented by Einstein, the African grey parrot, and her trainer, Stephanie White -- simply tickles. Watch for the moment when Einstein has a moment with Al Gore.

- African grey parrot
Einstein, the African grey parrot, has a vocabulary of more than 200 words and sounds; she can perform nearly half on cue. Full bio

Stephanie White: I'm going to let her introduce herself to everybody.
00:13
Can you tell everybody your name?
00:15
Einstein: Einstein.
00:16
SW: This is Einstein. Can you tell everyone "hi"?
00:17
E: Hello.
00:20
SW: That's nice. Can you be polite?
00:22
E: Hi, sweetheart.
00:23
SW: Much better. Well, Einstein is very honored to be here at TED 2006,
00:24
amongst all you modern-day Einsteins. In fact, she's very excited.
00:29
E: Woo.
00:32
SW: Yeah.
00:33
(Laughter)
00:34
Since we've arrived, there's been a constant buzz about
00:35
all the exciting speakers here for the conference.
00:37
This morning we've heard a lot of whispers about
00:40
Tom Reilly's wrap-up on Saturday. Einstein, did you hear whispers?
00:42
E: [Squawks]
00:45
SW: Yeah.
00:46
(Laughter)
00:47
Einstein's especially interested in Penelope's talk.
00:48
A lot of her research goes on in caves, which can get pretty dusty.
00:51
E: Achoo!
00:54
SW: It could make her sneeze. But more importantly, her research
00:56
could help Einstein find a cure for her never-ending scratchy throat.
00:59
Einstein: [Coughs]
01:02
SW: Yeah.
01:04
(Laughter)
01:05
Well, Bob Russell was telling us about his work on nanotubes
01:06
in his research at the microscopic level.
01:08
Well, that's really cool, but what Einstein's really hoping
01:10
is that maybe he'll genetically engineer a five-pound peanut.
01:14
E: Oh, my God! My God! My God!
01:17
SW: Yeah. She would get really, really excited.
01:19
(Laughter)
01:21
That is one big peanut. Since Einstein is a bird,
01:22
she's very interested in things that fly.
01:25
She thinks Burt Rutan is very impressive.
01:28
E: Ooh.
01:30
SW: Yeah. She especially likes his latest achievement, SpaceShipOne.
01:31
Einstein, would you like to ride in Burt's spaceship?
01:35
E: [Spaceship noise]
01:38
SW: Even if it doesn't have a laser?
01:39
E: [Laser noise]
01:40
(Laughter)
01:42
SW: Yeah, yeah. That was pretty funny, Einstein.
01:45
Now, Einstein also thinks, you know, working in caves
01:49
and travelling through space -- it's all very dangerous jobs.
01:53
It would be very dangerous if you fell down.
01:56
E: Wheeeeeee! [Splat]
01:59
SW: Yeah.
02:01
(Laughter)
02:02
Little splat at the end there. Einstein, did that hurt?
02:04
E: Ow, ow, ow.
02:05
SW: Yeah. It's all a lot of hard work.
02:06
E: [Squawks]
02:09
SW: Yeah. It can get a bird like Einstein frustrated.
02:10
E: [Squawks]
02:12
SW: Yeah, it sure can. But when Einstein needs to relax from her job
02:13
educating the public, she loves to take in the arts.
02:16
If the children of the Uganda need another dance partner,
02:19
Einstein could sure fit the bill, because she loves to dance.
02:22
Can you get down?
02:25
E: [Bobbing head] (Laughter)
02:27
SW: Let's get down for everybody. Come on now.
02:28
She's going to make me do it, too. Ooh, ooh.
02:30
Einstein: Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.
02:32
SW: Do your head now.
02:34
E: Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.
02:35
(Laughter)
02:38
SW: Or maybe Sirena Huang would like to learn some arias
02:41
on her violin, and Einstein can sing along with some opera?
02:44
E: [Operatic squawk]
02:47
SW: Very good.
02:48
(Laughter)
02:49
Or maybe Stu just needs another backup singer?
02:50
Einstein, can you also sing?
02:53
I know, you need to get rid of that seed first. Can you sing?
02:55
E: La, la.
02:57
SW: There you go. And, of course, if all else fails,
02:58
you can just run off and enjoy a fun fiesta.
03:01
E: [Squawks]
03:04
SW: All right. Well, Einstein was pretty embarrassed to admit this earlier,
03:06
but she was telling me backstage that she had a problem.
03:10
E: What's the matter?
03:13
SW: No, I don't have a problem. You have the problem, remember?
03:15
You were saying that you were really embarrassed,
03:17
because you're in love with a pirate?
03:19
E: Yar.
03:21
SW: There you go. And what do pirates like to drink?
03:22
E: Beer.
03:25
SW: Yeah, that's right. But you don't like to drink beer, Einstein.
03:26
You like to drink water.
03:29
E: [Water sound]
03:30
SW: Very good. Now, really, she is pretty nervous.
03:31
Because one of her favorite folks from back home is here,
03:34
and she's pretty nervous to meet him.
03:37
She thinks Al Gore is a really good-looking man.
03:39
What do you say to a good-looking man?
03:42
E: Hey, baby.
03:44
(Laughter)
03:45
SW: And so do all the folks back home in Tennessee.
03:47
E: Yee haw.
03:49
(Laughter)
03:51
SW: And since she's such a big fan,
03:52
she knows that his birthday is coming up at the end of March.
03:54
And we didn't think he'd be in town then,
03:56
so Einstein wanted to do something special for him.
03:58
So let's see if Einstein will sing "Happy Birthday" to Al Gore.
04:01
Can you sing "Happy Birthday" to him?
04:04
E: Happy birthday to you.
04:06
SW: Again.
04:08
E: Happy birthday to you.
04:10
SW: Again.
04:11
E: Happy birthday to you.
04:12
SW: Big finish.
04:15
E: Happy birthday to you.
04:16
SW: Good job!
04:18
(Applause)
04:20
Well, before we wrap it up, she would like to give a shout out
04:26
to all our animal friends back at the Knoxville Zoo.
04:29
Einstein, do you want to say "hi" to all the owls?
04:32
E: Woo, woo, woo.
04:34
SW: What about the other birds?
04:35
E: Tweet, tweet, tweet.
04:37
SW: And the penguin?
04:38
E: Quack, quack, quack.
04:39
SW: There we go.
04:40
(Laughter)
04:41
Let's get that one out of there. How about a chimpanzee?
04:42
E: Ooh, ooh, ooh. Aah, aah, aah.
04:44
SW: Very good.
04:46
(Laughter)
04:47
What about a wolf?
04:48
E: Ooooowww.
04:49
SW: And a pig?
04:50
E: Oink, oink, oink.
04:51
SW: And the rooster?
04:52
E: Cock-a-doodle-doo!
04:53
SW: And how about those cats?
04:54
E: Meow.
04:56
(Laughter)
04:57
SW: At the zoo we have big cats from the jungle.
04:58
E: Grrrrr.
05:00
(Laughter)
05:01
SW: What about a skunk?
05:02
E: Stinker.
05:04
(Laughter)
05:06
SW: She's a comedian. I suppose you think you're famous? Are you famous?
05:07
E: Superstar.
05:11
SW: Yeah. You are a superstar.
05:12
(Laughter)
05:13
Well, we would like to encourage all of you to do your part
05:14
to help protect Einstein's animal friends, and to do your part
05:17
to help protect their homes that they live [in].
05:21
Now, Einstein does say it best when we ask her.
05:23
Why do we want to protect your home?
05:25
E: I'm special.
05:27
SW: You are very special. What would you like to say
05:28
to all these nice people?
05:30
E: I love you.
05:31
SW: That's good. Can you blow them a kiss?
05:32
E: [Kissing noise]
05:34
SW: And what do you say when it's time to go?
05:35
E: Goodbye.
05:36
SW: Good job. Thank you all.
05:37
(Applause)
05:39

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About the Speaker:

Einstein the Parrot - African grey parrot
Einstein, the African grey parrot, has a vocabulary of more than 200 words and sounds; she can perform nearly half on cue.

Why you should listen

Einstein, the African grey parrot, squawked to fame after a winning performance on the Animal Planet game show Pet Star. She has a vocabulary of more than 200 words and sounds; she can perform nearly half on a cue from her trainer, Stephanie White. She can also impersonate a spaceship, a monkey and even a skunk.

Einstein is part of the Knoxville Zoo's outreach program, helping educate thousands of visitors about the natural world every year

More profile about the speaker
Einstein the Parrot | Speaker | TED.com