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Such tragic news was heard by all in the Grey World today, Friday, September 7, 2007. We were dealt a tremendous blow when we found out that Alex, the worlds smartest African Grey, past away with no warning. At just 30 years old, our beloved Alex is gone.


Purchased from a pet shop, Irene took Alex through an education process that would soon stun the world. Who would have thought that a BIRD would excel at so many complicated tasks such as counting, understanding greater than and less then, and countless other abilities usually only found in human children. He has taught the Grey world so much about the intelligence of this species, and others as well. Alex through the training and care of Dr. Irene Pepperburg excelled to levels of intelligence never before seen in any animal.


The death of Alex is one of those events that will never be forgotten. Let it be known that the words "just a bird" are forever tossed away. For Alex was more than "just a bird." Alex proved to the world that animals are more than just life forms. They are beings, with feelings and intelligence far beyond what might be considered. As parrot lovers, we all cry for Alex. But in crying, we also realize that these wonderful birds are a gift from God, to love, cherish, and teach for as long as God allows before he calls his creature home.


Thank you Alex. Thank you for showing everyone just how smart a mere bird can be. Anyone who has ever owned an African Grey knows of Alex & loves him. He was an inspiration to every Grey owner. He has influenced others by his intelligence, his ability to communicate and his love for Dr. Irene Pepperburg and the staff that cared for him.


We all mourn the loss of Alex, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Irene Pepperburg and her staff at this difficult time. One that will never be forgotten. Alex, we all love and miss you. You will forever live on in our hearts, our minds, and in every African Grey in this entire world.



Dr. Pepperberg purchased Alex from a Chicago pet store in June, 1977. He can label seven colors, is learning the alphabet and can count up to six objects. Alex is also working on identifying objects from photographs. Alex likes cardboard boxes, keychains, and corks.










Memorial Donations if you so desire, can be made here:




All our love, Penny, Melissa & Frank


Post edited by: CeasarsDad, at: 2007/09/08 13:58<br><br>Post edited by: Talon, at: 2007/09/11 02:15

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This is one of those days I will not forgot for a long long time if ever.. I can't imagine how Irene is feeling tonight.. Perhaps just like a mother that has lost her child..


In discussing this memorial with Talon and Melissa we thought that we would start this thread so our family here could post anything and everything related to Alex. Stories, Videos, Photos and anything else you can find on the net.. Let this be the place for all things Alex.. For as long as I am here in this forum this thread will be a sticky...

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I won't forget this day for a long time either, a very sad day indeed for anyone in the bird world. I cannot imagine how Irene must be feeling, but my thought and prayers are with her now to help her through this difficult time. A tragic loss of such magnitude, I almost feel like a part of me has died also, may Alex rest in peace in bird heaven.

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That was absolutely beautiful Talon. I think that puts into words what all of us here and all over the world are thinking. I have been interested in animal intelligence research for years now and no one stands out to me like Dr. Pepperberg and Alex. Considering the impact that Alex has made in everything from the scientific community down to the hobbyist parrot owner, he will be missed in the avian world just as much as Earnhardt is in the Nascar world, or John Lennon to Beatles fans. I’m sure that if the ancient Egyptians were right and your afterlife depends on your memory living on, then Alex will live on forever.

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This is tragic news. I feel for Irene, everyone that worked with Alex and everyone that Alex touched through his amazing and beautiful life. It does seem that his time was relatively short. I would be very interested to understand what the cause of death will be determined to have been.


All my best thoughts and wishes to Irene Pepperberg, everyone at the Alex Foundation and anyone that Alex touched through his intelligent and compelling time with us.



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Another Alex video:




And a funny Alex story:


Thus we are trying to get him to sound out refrigerator letters, the same way one would train children on phonics. We were doing demos at the Media Lab for our corporate sponsors; we had a very small amount of time scheduled and the visitors wanted to see Alex work. So we put a number of differently colored letters on the tray that we use, put the tray in front of Alex, and asked, "Alex, what sound is blue?" He answers, "Ssss." It was an "s", so we say "Good birdie" and he replies, "Want a nut."


Well, I don't want him sitting there using our limited amount of time to eat a nut, so I tell him to wait, and I ask, "What sound is green?" Alex answers, "Ssshh." He's right, it's "sh," and we go through the routine again: "Good parrot." "Want a nut." "Alex, wait. What sound is orange?" "ch." "Good bird!" "Want a nut." We're going on and on and Alex is clearly getting more and more frustrated. He finally gets very slitty-eyed and he looks at me and states, "Want a nut. Nnn, uh, tuh."

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NO! This is the worst news EVER.


Alex will be deeply missed. We hope that the Dr. will continue the great work she is doing and help us in better understanding our friends, the African Grays.


All we can do now is pray that Dr. Pepperburg will find another great gray and not be broken by this tragic and tremendous loss.


Alex will be missed.

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Very Tragic news for us all.My thoughts & prayers go out to Irene Pepperberg ,& Alex's Memory will live on.



If Tears Could Build A Stairway,



If tears could build a stairway

and memories were a lane

We would walk right up to heaven

And bring you back again.

No farewell words were spoken

No time to say goodbye

You were gone before we knew it

And only God knows why

Our hearts still ache in sadness

and secret tears still flow

What it meant to lose you

No one will ever know

But now we know you want us

To mourn for you no more

To remember all the happy times

Life still has much in store

Since you'll never be forgotten

We pledge to you today

A cherished place within our heart

Is where you'll always stay


Fly Free Alex xxxxx Alex20_trees.jpg<br><br>Post edited by: lovemyGreys, at: 2007/09/08 12:57

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The Death of Alex is a great loss.


I have a feeling he will continue to become ever more immortalized, through his death. The Media will publish it on TV, Newspapers etc. to the worlds 90 percent that had never heard of Alex or Dr. Pepperberg.


This could be a new beginning, rather than an ending....


A remembrance of Alex Clip:


"Wonderful stories about Alex came not only from his intelligence but also from his charm and humor. One episode that sticks with me involves a press conference where Dr. Pepperberg was trying to get Alex to identify the shape and color of an object she was hold in front of him. He gave her the cold shoulder by not saying a word, and the press conference was falling flat.


Pepperberg decided to leave the stage to get another African Grey, hoping it would help Alex lighten up and respond as hoped.


No sooner had she left then Alex looked at the gathered press and said very quietly, into the microphone, to the delight of his audience, “Triangle. Purple.” "


Fly on Alex, Fly on, High High above...........

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Guest briansmum

oh i can't believe it, how terribly sad i am heart broken. alex was one of my inspirations for wanting such a wonderful creature of my own. i have watched, reasearched and read as much as i can of alex and dr pepperberg and my thoughts are with her now.


a wonderful creature so special are rare

the likes of which cannot compare

you blessed the earth with your charm and grace

such a beautiful gift to the human race

we will all miss you, and try not to cry

as we think of you in the grey paradise in the sky

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Wow this sooo sad. Did it say how it happened?.I mean they are suppose to live to be like 50 years. He's still young. I feel for Irene all her time, effort and the love for Alex but at least she did show the world what an intelligent creature he was. Hopefully she doesnt give up and hope she'll continue her work.

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Guest Monique

Thank you so much for putting together that beautiful post. I, too, have followed Alex throughout the years, read Dr. Pepperberg's teachings, and feel so greatly for her for her loss - and also the loss for all of us who have been learning so much from her work with Alex.


As many of you may or may not be aware, Dr Pepperberg has struggled since the government has cut off her funding some years ago and she has had to turn to private sources for her studies. Perhaps something beautiful can come out of Alex's death and she will receive the funds she needs to ensure years and years to come for her and her birds.


Dr. Pepperberg has indicated that Alex's cause of death is unknown at this time but that she will update us (the public) on Monday.

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One morning Irene walked into the aviary. Alex was chanting "Long Yellow, Long Yellow". After pondering what he was trying to tell her for a moment, she remembered she had given him corn the night before, but hadn't given it a name.


Knowing that there is that kind of comprehension inside all our birds little heads it quite amazing. They are only limited by what we fail to teach them.


This is the most comprehensive site on Alex there is:


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Pryde wrote:

One morning Irene walked into the aviary. Alex was chanting "Long Yellow, Long Yellow". After pondering what he was trying to tell her for a moment, she remembered she had given him corn the night before, but hadn't given it a name.


This is exactly what this memorial is all about. Stories and tid bits about this awesome species. Pryde.. You bring up a great point. It's the species that is so intelligent.. Remember, Irene chose Alex from a normal everyday pet shop.. Alex was not the result of selective breeding of any kind. Alex was just a normal AG that had above normal interactions with humans.. And look at the results.. It's encouraging to know that inside each and every AG we own and love there exists an Alex waiting to come out..

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Guest Monique

From: AlexFoundation@yahoogroups.com [mailto:AlexFoundation@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of The Alex Foundation Staff

Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2007 2:09 PM

To: AlexFoundation@yahoogroups.com; Remembering-Alex@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [The Alex Foundation] We have had many requests on how to help!

Importance: High


A donation link has been set-up on the Alex Foundation page www.AlexFoundation.org it is located near the bottom


You may make a donation via PayPal by clicking the button below, PayPal will now accept all credit cards.

Your memorial contributions in Alex's name will be used for funding future research and keeping the Alex Foundation strong. As always you contribution is tax deductible.

The Alex Foundation is a not-for-profit 501© (3) organization.

Tax information available on request.

Or even better save the Alex Foundation the PayPal fees and send a check made payable to The Alex Foundation and send it to


The Alex Foundation MS/062

Department of Psychology

Brandeis University

415 South Street

Waltham, MA 02454

Attn: Alex Memorial


The staff at The Alex Foundation can’t thank you enough for your outpouring of support; your messages have deeply touched us all. They are all being complied for Dr. Pepperberg to read.


We offer all of you our most sincere thanks.

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I am so sad about this... We love watching the Alex videos, in fact we even say some of his sayings to Makena... like "can I have a nut" and "head tickle".


I felt like I knew Alex without ever meeting him. I will continue to be impressed by the amazing work Irene does and hope his death brings more awareness to her organization. Her research has shown the public what amazing and intelligent creatures greys are.


Thanks Alex for all you have done... We will miss you. You will never be forgotten...

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Monique wrote:



Here's an Amazing Video for you to watch about Alex and the other birds Dr. Pepperburg has trained. I won't add any spoilers to my comments. Watch it and tell me what you think!! :)





This post needs to be in the memorial thread like all the others.

Anything related to ALEX, is to stay in this thread. I will be monitoring this.

Your Admin, Talon


Post edited by: Talon, at: 2007/09/09 01:20<br><br>Post edited by: Talon, at: 2007/09/09 01:23

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I too was sad to hear about Alex. I think it's the shock of such a sudden death, with no known reason at this time that makes this loss ever more difficult to deal with. When we know someone is terminally ill, we also know the loss will come soon. However, when one seems perfectly well, and suddenly dies, the loss is compounded many times more, by the shock of the loss. This is what has happened with Alex. One day he was here, and the next day he is gone. (tears)


Alex was truly an amazing Grey. His intelligence extended far beyond ever imagined. I believe this is what made him so very special. His ability to think, and reason. Truly amazing.


Alex is always going to be with us, friends. As long as we keep him in our hearts, he is not ever really gone. He lives within our memories of him, and his greatness. Lets not cry because he is gone, but let us smile because he ever lived. That's the best memorial we can ever give to Alex.


Alex is FREE now, lets rejoice in his life as the most amazing African Grey that has ever joined our lives.


Comfort & compassion to you all here morning the loss of Alex.



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I've never heard of Alex but do remember a documentary on tv in where a very clever grey was starring. I suppose it must have been him. Sorry to hear he died. A small consolation might be that it was sudden and he didn't suffer longterm illnesses or pain.

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This is the official announcement of the death of Alex as per the Alex Foundation web site.





Alex was found to be in good health at his most recent annual physical about two weeks ago. According to the vet who conducted the necropsy, there was no obvious cause of death. Dr. Pepperberg will continue her innovative research program at Harvard and Brandeis University with Griffin and Arthur, two other young African Grey parrots who have been a part of the ongoing research program.



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Thanks for posting this Talon.


I hope they are going to do a much more thorough exam with lab samples to find the cause.


I am disappointed they didn't mention if they would or not though. :-(


I know they want to know and all us Grey lovers and followers of Alexs history, want to know!!!

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