Kerry's Reviews > Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process

Alex & Me by Irene M. Pepperberg
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May 18, 10


I loved this book! It's about an animal researcher who decides Grey Parrots are her animals of choice-which is how she meets Alex-whose learning curve was compared to that of a toddler or trained Chimp. Their 30 year educational journey astounded animal lovers and researchers alike-proving that having a "bird-brain" isn't such a bad thing. Here are some examples of Alex's amazing talents:

When a toy parrot was placed in his cage he eyeballed it for a couple of days before going over to it, bowing his head and saying "You tickle. You tickle" when of course the toy didn't respond he walked away saying "you're a turkey" which is what lab aids called him when he wouldn't cooperate.

He would also get bored with the same questions over and over and would mess with the assistants by giving every answer but the right one. When the right answer was two he gave them one, three, four, etc...until they put him in time out and started to leave-at which time he started yelling "Come back...two...it's two...I'm sorry...come back!"

Also, when they were in a small lab he had to be in the room when new greys were being trained and would "help" the new bird by saying "speak clearly!" "say again" "you're wrong" when they weren't getting things fast enough.

And my favorite-when they were trying to see if he knew the sounds that made up words-they started with "sssss" and he got it right every time and every time would say "want a nut" after. They told him he couldn't have nuts right then but he wouldn't let it go finally saying with slitted eyes "want a nut. nnn...uh...tuh" haha. Smart bird!!!

I love this bird. He was quite a character and he will definitely get under your skin.

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