Sadly, Alex the African Grey Parrot passed away about a week ago at the age of 31. Since I named my first Quaker after Alex, it seems fitting to recognize his passing and celebrate his life. I remember first reading about Alex more than ten years ago. I was charmed and amazed at his human language skills. I even have several video tapes in my library about this very special African Grey.
A remembrance page has been set up if you would like to express your condolonces. And many newspapers around the globe have reported on Alex’s death (See Bird Brain or Parrot Prodigy and Death of Gifted Parrot Stuns Scientists). I’m sure you can also visit any parrot forum on the Internet to witness an outpouring of sadness and respect for this very unique Grey.
Dr Pepperburg has stated that Alex never stopped learning. In one of the above articles, she relates how Alex made some new progress just last month. We have learned so much about our own parrots because of Alex. This was the first real research that showed parrots are able to go beyond simple mimicry and actually understand the human words that they learn to say. Alex the Grey will be deeply, deeply missed.