Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Alex & Me

Ms. Kakutani wings her way through How a Scientist and a Parrot Uncovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence — and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene M. Pepperberg.

When Alex was sick of working, Dr. Pepperberg reports, he would ignore his handlers, preen his feathers or say, "Wanna go back," meaning he wanted to return to his cage. When he knocked over a coffee cup or gave a wrong answer, he would say, "I'm sorry," suggesting, Dr. Pepperberg says, that he'd "learned that 'I'm sorry' is associated with defusing a tense, angry, and potentially dangerous moment."


  1. It is no accident that most of those who are fortunate enough to have close relationships with African Grays refer to them as "companions," not as "pets."

  2. True; and, most of us who have had the great and comforting pleasure of being close to a dog refer to them as friends. Interesting. I think mebbe only gerbils, hamsters, and goldfish are "pets."

    Cats, too. I think prolly cats dominate petland.