No, that title is not a joke, a parrot really does understand how economics works. They even know supply and demand, based on a recent study. Now how many of us can claim that we understand that aspect of the economy? It’s okay no need to answer, if we all did, we’d probably be successful stockbrokers by now.
So yeah, a parrot probably knows how to turn the economy to their advantage better than you. A recent food test at the Max Planck Institute in Germany shows some promising results for the potty-mouthed human imitators. The experiment involved 33 macaws and African grey parrots and they were taught currency, specifically how to exchange tokens for food, as well as their value.
Each parrot was given two choices, to invest their tokens in low-value but immediate rewards which are seeds, or high-value but expensive rewards, which are walnuts. The scientists were surprised to witness parrots choosing to conserve or take tokens instead of seeds as long as they thought it would get them the walnut or the better reward. So they knew the value of their tokens and how to save them up for bigger chow.
“In our experimental setting, we have found that they are capable of making surprisingly subtle decisions to maximise their payoff while minimising their effort,” claimed lead researcher Dr. Auguste von Bayern. Apparently, the parrots also performed as well as the Chimpanzees in the same test. This led the scientists to wonder how parrots use such economic intelligence in their natural environment. So when they aren’t aping human sounds and noises, they probably are making beaucoup bucks in Wall Street behind your back. Perfect cover-up.