What is my sun conure looking at?

Goldie looking up at the sky for airplanes.

Goldie looking up at the sky for airplanes.


It happens almost everyday while Goldie my sun conure and I are sitting at the breakfast table near a large floor to ceiling window. I catch her looking out the window with her eyes glued to the sky and her ear leaning slightly to the window. I look to see what she is looking at and there is nothing-no bird, strange person or airplane. “What are you looking at Goldie,” I say?

Most of the time and many times a day she will stare at the sky and grunt a sound that says “look.” There it is an airplane or a bird readily visible most of the time. Sometimes there is nothing there however.

Goldie will stare for 15 seconds or so at the sky while there is nothing to see by my human eye and then there it is- a jet passenger airliner. I see it now coming into view. I turn around and look back at her and she bobs her head. I tell her “thank you, good noticing” and she says ‘good” in her croaky sun conure voice.

How does she know the plane coming before it’s in full view? Does she hear it coming? I am not a scientist but I have to surmise that she is hearing it because this occurs only with the larger jets. I don’t hear the plane coming myself probably because it is rather high up. When I see her staring at the sky I immediately look up and listen myself and there is nothing and then I wait for several seconds. Then there it is- a jet.

It must be the vibrations that the jet is making that she hears or the sound of the vibrations on the buildings below. It amazes me really. She is so proud of herself after I tell how good she is too. She loves spotting airplanes and telling me she sees them before I see them.

It’s just another amazing instance of parrot intelligence that may never be fully explained but is there nonetheless. So at every meal on a clear day, Goldie will have me looking at the sky at least several times. Whether it’s a dove, sparrow, strange person, car, or a plane, my sun conure will point out that it’s there and sometimes before it’s there too.

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