British Columbia·Video

Stage name Mariah Canary: Parrot chirps along with pop star's Christmas classic

Cosmo has a thing for power ballads, especially when they're performed by a female singer who can hold a long, sustained note.
Cosmo, a blue-fronted Amazon parrot, has lived at the Vancouver Aquarium for eight years. (John Healey)

Cosmo has a thing for power ballads, especially when they're performed by a female singer who can hold a long, sustained note.

She loves singing along to Whitney Houston, Alanis Morisette and Sarah McLachlan, and her favourite song is probably Adele's Hello.

It's a musical taste she shares with plenty of her fellow 21-year-olds, but Cosmo is a bit different — she's a bird. Specifically, a blue-fronted Amazon parrot who's spent the last eight years at the Vancouver Aquarium.

"She's just a super energetic bird. She's very interested in humans and what we're doing," aquarium biologist Chelsea Ryan told CBC.

Listening to music is part of the enrichment program for parrots at the aquarium, and it's a "really great, fun stimulant" for birds like Cosmo, Ryan said.

Giving her musical tastes, Mariah Carey's holiday classic All I want for Christmas is you, seemed like the perfect choice for a recent session.

Staff at the Aquarium recorded the result.

Check out Cosmo's Christmas spirit

Cosmo the parrot bops to Mariah Carey


2 years ago
Cosmo, a 21-year-old blue-fronted Amazon parrot at the Vancouver Aquarium, is really into the pop star's holiday classic "All I Want for Christmas is You." 0:52

"You could see from the video, she really gets into it," Ryan said.

At times, it seems like Cosmo is singing along with the lyrics, but Ryan said she's just repeating a phrase she always uses when she's really enjoying a particular song — it sounds something like "ah gah goh."

"It seems to be what, to her, our humans singing sounds like," Ryan said. "It seems to be the noise that she makes that mimics human singing, and she'll make that same sound when she hears those long, sustained notes, kind of trying to join in."

If you listen closely, you can also hear her saying one of her favourite phrases: "I'm the bird."


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