It would be cool to hear a parrot say, “Polly want a cracker.”
The parrot wants a cracker, and unlike most other animals, the parrot can actually tell you when it wants a cracker. The only problem is when the parrot gets impatient, you’ll hear more, “Polly want a cracker.”
Hearing the parrot say the same thing every time gets annoying after the third time. What if there was a parrot that was able to do more than say it wanted a cracker? A while back, I read a book called Animals In Translation which explained how autism could decode animal behavior.
It was a fascinating read, but one of the stories about a parrot was simply incredible. The parrot’s name was Alex and it was trained by Irene Pepperberg. Alex was an African Grey Parrot that had a vocabulary of over 100 words. The parrot could distinguish 5 shapes and 7 colors.
Alex the parrot knew the difference between a banana and a nut. Although he didn’t know how to say the word apple, he referred to it as a ‘banerry’ which was a combination of two fruits Alex was familiar with (banana and cherry).
The parrot that keeps on asking for the cracker is just an ordinary parrot. The parrot that can do more is the one that is extraordinary. Alex the parrot is remembered because he didn’t keep on saying the same thing. He was able to make decisions and learn a lot in a world where the scientific community believed that a large primate brain was needed to handle complex problems. He was a unique parrot that proved the experts wrong.
We don’t remember the name of the parrot that wanted the cracker, but we will remember Alex the African Grey Parrot.