The Duncan Song Catalog

This is not really Duncan. Duncan is far too busy now with his book tour to actually pose for pictures. You can, however, send him email. He's on that darn computer 10 hours a day.


    Several days ago, I got in trouble for encouraging the office parrot, Duncan, to make a sound that others deemed unpallatable. I felt victimized, not because I had been (in my view) unjustly punished, but rather because I realized that there was no authoritative guide to illustrate which sounds were which. The Duncan Song Catalog (DSC) is my attempt to remedy the situation.


    Went out to Fry's and bought a $10 Labtec Microphone. Strung it from my computer to a hiding place outside my cubicle. Downloaded a shareware program called Goldwave. I was in business. Duncan was taken home for punishment the next day (unrelated to my work). It is quite lucky that we got this much in one day.

What about getting fired for eavesdropping?

    That was certainly a concern. (Still is!) As you will hear, my setup couldn't pick up a conversation to save its life. Just in case, I told several people about the project so at least I'd have someone to back up my alibi if I got caught. (Daryl still denies any knowledge of the project).

Why is the sound so crummy?

    I am neither rich nor especially secure in my job. This means no expensive boom mikes and no risky placement of the microphone. This meant that I didn't have great sound to start with. Regardless, I recorded in 16 bit stereo, then transferred to 8 bit mono to make these things web-friendly (otherwise they'd take a LONG time to download)

Was this done on company time?

    Good question. Who are you with, anyway? The recording was done while I worked, yes, but the lion's share of the editing was done in my time off.

What are the plans for the DSC from here?

    I'm thinking of a Java applet to randomly select sounds to play. The true virtual Duncan!

Do you have a life?

    No, none whatsoever.

How can I contact the creator of this page? I'd like to set him up with my sister.

    Excellent question. Jos Claerbout can be reached at his WebTv address (although for how long is not really clear).

  • Snapping
      Who says birds ain't got no rhythm?
  • Whistle
      Simple and unadorned, this whistle is a testament to the call of the wild
  • Cat Call One Cat Call Two
      A timeless classic. Now in two versions.
  • Two-Tone
      The Beginning of a ska movement?
  • Tri-Tone
      Sonya tells me this is an impersonation (imbirdination?) of Marty.
  • Mari
      Hear Duncan cry plantively for his long lost love (Excuse the sound quality here, talking is really hard to pick up).
  • Laugh
      One can only guess at what diabolical plans Duncan is considering when he lets loose THIS laugh.
  • "Hey Mom!"
      Is someone in Customer Care hiding a secret?
  • Hey Duncan!
      Some bird psychiatrists specialize in multiple personality disorder.
  • 7 Whistle
      Rub Duncan just the right way and he'll perform an act of rare elegance.
  • The Clap-Whistle
      What I've always admired about Duncan is his willingness to "mix it up". Most other African Greys wouldn't even TRY this one.
  • Yap
      You ever step on a hamster?
  • Splert
      Quite possibly the sound Jos got in trouble for.
  • Do-re-mi-fa
      Taylor always knew the singing lessons would pay off.
  • Monkey Bird
      Only Emily can explain this one.
  • The Evil Chirp
      This evil chirp set a record for length and annoyingness. Hear Rob celebrate the achievement.