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Bird Brain? I think not!

October 25, 2018
by Ann Mcelwee

On October 23rd the Tuesday Club held its meeting at the home of Jan McCloy with Sue Dydo as the co-hostess. President Pam Maryjanowski called the meeting to order at 7:15. There were 20 members in attendance.

The topic "animals make us human" continued. Members began by sharing favorite stories of the special animals in their lives. We discovered that our animal friends are very ingenious. They have learned how to open and close car doors and baby gates; they can ring door bells and know which member of the family to win over. They enrich our lives.

Trisha Stacey presented the book ALEX AND ME by Irene Pepperberg. She began by asking us to consider the definition of "bird brain" which is an annoyingly stupid and shallow person. She then shared the story of Alex and Irene. The story began with the death of the African Grey Parrot Alex whose last words to Irene were: "You be good. I Love you." The death of this bird caused headline news around the world. Irene and Alex had worked together for over 30 years sneered by experts, with financial hardships and movement from one university to another. Using the Model-Rival method, Irene taught the bird to talk. He was able to add, sound out words, understood concepts like bigger, smaller, more, fewer, and none; recognized colors and shapes; and had a vocabulary of 100 words. Her research has been used to assist children with language disabilities.

After a brief intermission, Kathie Valley presented the book TOUCHING THE WILD (Living with the Mule Deer of Deadman Gulch) by Joe Hutto. This is the story of a man who lived with the Mule Deer in Rockies of Montana for 7 years. He practiced ethology, which is the study of animal behavior with emphasis on the patterns that occur in natural environments. Due to the curiosity of one deer and his introduction to the entire herd, Joe had access and insight into the minds of these animals. He was able to witness individual and group dynamics, showing how much we have in common with these delicate creatures. He indicated that these mule deer are in trouble due to hunters, predators, development and pollution. We have much to learn from wild animals about their world, ourselves and our fragile planet.



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