Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Remembering a remarkable being...

For those of you familiar with Alex the parrot this will likely trigger some memories...however many are not familiar with this very special being and this video can serve as an introduction and a farewell. I remember feeling a sense of loss when I heard about his loss several years ago. The New York Times story re his death can be read here.



The book, Alex and Me, by Irene Pepperberg is a worthwhile read. It is intriguing to learn about Dr. Pepperberg's journey toward comprehending and recognizing the unique being that was Alex. One aspect of  Alex's  specialness was his facility at learning (not mimicking) human language...

Few (if any) humans have been able to become fluent in parrot language (or the language of any other species for that matter). And those sensitive to animal people that do not happen to be human know full well that they each have a language.

Thank you Alex, for being you, and farewell.

7 comments:

Christina said...

Yes Thank You Alex and godspeed on your journey buddy. When I was a girl we had a little parakeet named Chico. We had him for many many years. He died of old age and had arthritis really bad in his little feet. My mom taught that bird to say all kinds of words. He loved to sit on your head and poke thru your hair. A saucer with a bit of water in it was so much fun for him. He would bathe and flick the water all around. Our other parakeet (also named Chico, apparently all our birds were Puerto Rican in origin) talked too. He would demand a bite of whatever your were eating and have a fit until you let him taste it. I am amazed at birds and their abilities. I have always found them to be a delight. I wish people would thank more before they brought these birds. Some of these animals live a very long time and they get lonely. You must talk to them and interact with them daily. They also need to stop snatching these birds from the wild to sell as pets. Sorry to go on and on.

Christina said...

I really need to review before I comment. That should read "think" and "bought" sheesh.

Krissa said...

I'd never heard of Alex. Thanks for sharing this. He is an awesome example of exactly what most of us already know - our fellow beings know way more than they are given credit for. Some of them, like Alex, manage to learn our language/s in ways we can understand since so few of us care to learn theirs. I notice they mentioned Koko. There was a also horse (probably not the only one) who also learned English - he is long-deceased, he was called Beautiful Jim Key. His person wasn't vegan, but was a leader in bringing about what is now known as the ASPCA. Thanks again for sharing about Alex. He really was quite a fellow! His last words to his friend Irene are touching. I am sure she loved him, but birds in cages is one thing that makes me very, very sad - even 'just' overnight. They love us in spite of everything. (And I had parakeets growing up too, like you Christina. I wouldn't do it again, but I loved them when we had them. I hope that made up a little bit for what they lived through).

Murph's mom said...

Christina, we know what you meant and I believe you were right the first time. Thanking the birds would be appropriate. They tolerate a great deal from us. My brothers had a parakeet when we were growing up. His name was Ringo. He too liked to sit on our heads. And like Chico he loved a saucer of warm water to splash about in. It is fascinating to me the different ways that animals play.

In my opinion Alex was such a gentleman besides a genius. I watched some of the other videos of him and in each one Irene was asking him "what color; what made of; how many", etc. In each video Alex was saying right after he answered "Want to go back." He could have told her "I have told you over and over what color, what made of and how many! Are you dense!" Maybe he had at some point but it didn't do any good. chuckle, chuckle. So he chose the polite response "want to go back." Krissa I agree, animals do know way more than we give them credit for. When we do take the time to observe them we find out how remarkable they are. The mockingbird who would come sit on the fence by the warren door and do the alert chirp to let me know the roadrunner was on the property again so I would run it off was a great example. Our two donkeys attending the funeral of a bunny who had crossed the bridge and stood quietly and somberly by with heads held low as we buried him is another. I am constantly amazed at the bunnies in the warren how they connive and charm their way through the day. The human race is so busy running about and grabbing as much as is possible they don't notice the beauty and wonder of nature all around them. When some do stop and notice I think the birds, the bees and many others ask are asking us Irene's question - "what matter(s)?"

Bea Elliott said...

What an amazing being! I too never knew of Alex... But will certainly never forget him.

I think sometimes maybe "Heaven" is reserved exclusively for nonhumans. They suffer so much here with us, it almost seems fitting that they would deserve an eternal paradise more. If that was the case, I hope Alex, Chico, Ringo and my Lucky and Liz, are all spreading their wings with the angels of Sweet Peace.

veganelder said...

Thank each of you, Christina, Krissa, Murph's mom and Bea for commenting. I wish I had posted about Alex earlier...I fall prey to the notion that if I know about it then everybody does...

I am glad each of you got a chance to see Alex...I am sure his spirit appreciates the thoughtfulness and eloquence of your writing.

So I'm Thinking Of Going Vegan said...

Birds are smarter than we think. A few months ago I watched a documentary (on The Nature of Things) showing crows making tools. Something they used to think only human animals could do.