The Associated Press reported yesterday that Brandeis University scientist Irene Pepperberg, whose famous African gray parrot, Alex, died last fall, will pen a memoir chronicling her 30-year relationship with the bird that could count to six and identify colors, shapes and 50 objects.
So, in Alex's honor, I went to the Book Room looking for a book on or about an animal — any animal — and to my astonishment there was a book about parrots. No joke. Today's selection is Breaking Bad Habits in Parrots (Firefly Books, 125 pages, $24.95) by Greg Glendell.
Now, I'm not nearly a bird person and I won't pretend to know what would be a good book for a bird person, but this one is full of colorful photos, diagrams and explanations in areas such as: different types of parrots; acquiring a parrot; understanding parrot behavior; training a parrot; first aid and more.
In the Different Types of Parrots chapter, we can learn about Alex by reading about the African gray.
"When it comes to their abilities to label and describe a range of objects shown to them, grays show a level of intelligence similar to a human toddler," Glendell writes. "They need to be with people who are calm and confident in their behavior, and they may not do very well in a household with young children or dogs."