September 6 is the 5th anniversary of Alex’s death. Many members of the lab staff who knew Alex—many of whom are always students—have graduated and moved on by now. Most of us who work at the lab now have only heard stories of Alex’s strange intelligence from the lab managers and Dr. Pepperberg, but those stories remain astonishing. How Alex seemed to boss students around; how he intruded on the other parrots’ questions during research sessions, answering before them; how he spoke newly learned labels all night long, as if rehearsing and solidifying their meanings. He chatted busily in a way that was reminiscent of a very young child. There is no knowing whether Alex had an inner life or a consciousness—there is never a way to know that for sure. But those who worked with the bird cared for the personality he seemed to have, and cared for his surprising intelligence. He is missed.
We’re doing a few things to commemorate this date. Here’s what’s up at the lab:
Release of Life With Alex Movie
First off, we want to tell you about something that’s got us really excited. For a few years, a documentary on Alex’s life, entitled Life With Alex, has been in production—and it’s finally here.
Life With Alex is a compelling film about non-human cognition and learning. Follow Alex and his colleagues, Dr. Irene Pepperberg, lab manager Arlene Levin-Rowe, and their student assistants. Learn about Alex’s accomplishments and relationships, which changed forever what we know about how animals think. See never-before-released footage of Alex, in which he uses meaningful human speech to convey how he thought and felt every day.
For more information on the new movie, please visit www.LifeWithAlexMovie.com. The movie will be released in the coming weeks. To sign up for our mailing list to receive updates and hear when the movie comes out, sign up here.
A Reminder: Raffle!
Finally, a reminder. A few weeks ago, I posted about a raffle we’re holding for this original watercolor painting, generously donated by its creator, Arlene Powers:
The painting is a portrait of and tribute to Alex, but would make a tasteful and beautiful addition to any bird-lover’s home. You still have one week to enter this raffle! Each ticket is $5, or 5 tickets for $20, and can be purchased here. The winner will be picked on September 6th, the anniversary of Alex’s death.
We hope your summer has been beautiful, and stick with us for more posts and updates.[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://alexfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Author-photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Megan McGrath has worked with the Pepperberg Lab for several years. She is pursuing a career in research on animal cognition, communication, and perception. [/author_info] [/author]