Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence

A Five Star Pick

Alex & MeAfter reading about my all-time favorite owl, Wesley, I thought this book would be something I’d enjoy.  I knew parrots were not only amusing but quite intelligent, so I picked it up curious to know how Alex the parrot would win me over.  Pepperberg mentions how he would be taught to memorize certain things in the lab with scientists to prove his smarts and one day he actually turned the tables on them when he had enough of giving the right answers, so he refused to reply after wondering why they kept asking him the same questions over and over!  Were they dumb or something?  He already answered them the first time.  Now that is one clever parrot!  In this animal memoir we are invited to see how birds can have a high level of competence when it comes to learning things—with parrots it is even more fascinating because they can actually talk and mimic human language.  They will even use it to describe how they are feeling, just as Alex does the night before he passes away.  Yes, even this book made me cry.  The world that Pepperberg and her feathered companion shared as they made remarkable discoveries together in science is such a neat experience.  Even though this book is written from a scientist’s point of view, she makes it very easy to understand and fun to follow.  I’m glad I was able to read how Alex contributed himself in order to help humans see how special the bird species is.  If you own parrots or love them, this book is a gem.

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