Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Name that Bird Answers & Winner

The bird in question, from last month's contest is Alex, the African Grey Parrot., who became famous for his astounding vocabulary and cognitive abilities. He died unexpectedly and prematurely on September 6, 2007. Everyone who entered got both of those correct! The NY Times ran an article about him after his death. The NY Times Magazine also published a beautiful tribute to both Alex the Parrot, and Washoe the Sign Language Using Chimpanzee, who also passed away that year, less than two months after Alex. But an official Obituary was published in The Economist, and that was the answer I was looking for. Only one person who entered guessed the third part correctly, and that was Jean White from Bellevue, WA. She wins a four pack of my handmade photo greeting cards! Thank you to everyone who participated, and Congratulations, Jean! Please check back soon for more fun contests and prizes.

Recommended/Related Reading:

Alex & Me, by Irene Pepperberg

This is the story of Alex the Parrot, in layperson's language. It's also a very quick read. You'll be flabbergasted by Alex's accomplishments, and charmed by his personality. It'll make you laugh and cry. This is a great book for anyone who was a fan or follower of Alex; for anyone who is a lover of animals, birds, parrots, or African Grays; or anyone interested in language studies or animal behavior.

The Alex Studies, by Irene Pepperberg

If you're looking for something more technical, then this is the Alex book you should read. It's goes into more scientific detail about the language and cognitive studies in which Alex participated. Also available in hardcover

Next of Kin, by Roger Fouts

This is the story of Washoe the Chimp, the pioneer who helped break the language barrier between species. It was written while she was still alive, but there are still parts of the book that will wrench your heart. Another encouraging story that maybe someday other species will be treated with the respect they deserve.

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