Alex and Me by Irene Pepperberg

Alex and Me
Normally I don't like books that make me cry. Sitting down with a tear-jerker of a novel has never been my idea of a good time. However, I enjoyed Alex and Me immensely even though I was crying my eyes out by the end.

Irene Pepperberg, a scientist who studies animal cognition especially involving parrots, explores her relationship with her African Grey Parrot, Alex after he passed away suddenly at the young age, for an African Grey, of 31.

The author takes the reader back through her early interest in birds and her initial acquisition of Alex through his 30 years of life. Alex's personality comes through vividly through her recollections and it is clear he is an intelligent bird with a domineering personality who still manages to endear himself to everyone he meets, and the reader. Pepperberg also takes the reader through the various tests that were created to test Alex and the other parrots' intelligence, as well as taking the reader through the learning strategies that she and her research assistants employed to teach the birds.

While Pepperberg attempts to keep her distance from Alex in order to maintain a working relationship with the bird, she and by extension the reader become enamored by Alex's intelligence and the sheer force of his personality. Alex was able to not only learn words, and had a vocabulary of around 150 words, but he was also able to use that vocabulary to appropriately label and describe different objects and concepts.

Also by Pepperberg, featuring Alex is The Alex studies : cognitive and communicative abilities of grey parrots. While this book features anecdotes about Alex, it is primarily a scholarly research paper that reports on the remarkable amounts of data collected by Dr. Pepperberg. If you are as enamored with Alex as I now am, you may want to try working your way through this one as well.
Check catalog for availability of Alex and Me or The Alex Studies

Submitted by Rose @ MPL Central.




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This page contains a single entry by Rose published on July 1, 2010 9:08 AM.

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