No Bird Brains Here


Anyone who has spent quality time with parrots must occasionally wonder what's on their minds.

And what beautiful and curious minds they have. Parrot intelligence has been the focus of many research initiatives and one that caught our attention was conducted by two research associates in Harvard’s Psychology Department, Irene Pepperberg and Francesca Cornero.

During their classic Piagetian experiments, they worked with an African Gray named "Alex" that easily outperformed young children on certain tests, including one that measures understanding of volume. The research focus was to explore the intelligence of birds to better understand the roots of human intellect.

Alex the African Gray

In their natural environment, birds need to know that changes in appearance have no effect on quantity. For example, that a squashed piece of fruit has the same amount of nutritional value as an un-squashed piece of fruit. The fact that the African Gray aced the experiment showed that this type of knowledge has been evolutionarily learned over 300 million years, e.g. birds have organized their brains to instinctively understand this key survival tactic.

So… this got us thinking about how our discerning feathered BOPS residents have been subjects of some well-known quotes and, just for fun, we have started a blog series to feature some of the quotes that we believe would amuse our birds.

Our first blog in the series features Thomas Lovejoy, a biologist also known as the "Godfather of Biodiversity".

Our second blog in the series features Mark Twain, the pen name of world-renowned author, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who was certainly no stranger to controversy.

Our third blog in the series features Maya Angelou, a gifted American poet, singer, memoirist and civil rights activist, who accidentally had a quote attributed to her!

Our last blog in the series features Poll, an African Gray parrot that was a companion bird to our 7th president (Andrew Jackson) and known to have a bit of a potty mouth.

Happy reading everyone!

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