I think Michael labels what Alex did as endearing tricks because Alex is a parrot and parrots are a priori incapable of anything other than endearing tricks. A parrot could recite Paradise Lost and give an elaborate commentary with references to Plutarch and it would be an endearing trick.
One of my endearing tricks is horrific overposting. For which I apologize, engaging in the specifically human behavior of communicating remorse by placing my tail between my legs.
--- On Thu, 4/16/09, John Thornton <jthorn65 at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Michael calls Alex's documented behaviors an "endearing
> trick" but has no reason to label it as such.
> If he hasn't read the book about Dr. Pepperbergs work with
> Alex he might want to before he labels these behaviors
> "endearing tricks".
> I don't mean the book "Alex and Me" but rather "The Alex
> Studies" which chronicles Dr. Pepperberg's studies with
> Also try "Animal Cognition in Nature" which is a collection
> of studies in just what the title says, animal cognition.
> The whole idea of instinctive responses to stimuli only or
> conditioned responses to specific stimuli being the only way
> animals are capable of communicating is rapidly coming
> apart. It is a ridiculous idea anyway but perhaps hubris is
> the only thing humans are capable of that animals are
> not. :)
> John Thornton