« Previous | Main | Next »

Alex the Parrot has died.

Eddie Mair | 16:05 UK time, Wednesday, 12 September 2007

and we'll talk on the programme to someone who knew him well.

Comments

  1. At 04:14 PM on 12 Sep 2007, iRJD wrote:

    Owner: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.

    Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

    Owner: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

    Mr. Praline: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

    Owner: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!

    Mr. Praline: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up! (shouting at the cage) 'Ello, Mister Polly Parrot! I've got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you
    show...

    (owner hits the cage)

    Owner: There, he moved!

    Mr. Praline: No, he didn't, that was you hitting the cage!

    Owner: I never!!

    Mr. Praline: Yes, you did!

    Owner: I never, never did anything...

    Mr. Praline: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) 'ELLO POLLY!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!

    (Takes parrot out of the cage and thumps its head on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)

    Mr. Praline: Now that's what I call a dead parrot.

    Owner: No, no.....No, 'e's stunned!

    Mr. Praline: STUNNED?!?

    Owner: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Norwegian Blues stun easily, major.

    Mr. Praline: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not 'alf an hour
    ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.

    Owner: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.

    Mr. Praline: PININ' for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got 'im home?

    Owner: The Norwegian Blue prefers keepin' on it's back! Remarkable bird, id'nit, squire? Lovely plumage!

  2. At 04:22 PM on 12 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    Alex the Parrot has died but his spirit lives on.

    Alex the Parrot has died but his spirit lives on.

  3. At 04:23 PM on 12 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    I refuse to participate in the Dead Parrot Sketch. Sorry and all that.

    (But I suppose the moderators are right and that's malicious of me.)

  4. At 04:25 PM on 12 Sep 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Crickey he was 31....how many is that in 'human' years?

  5. At 04:37 PM on 12 Sep 2007, iDr Hackenbush wrote:

    iIs it not true that only the inews imedia still use the Richter scale?

  6. At 04:45 PM on 12 Sep 2007, silver-fox wrote:

    I didn't even know he was sick.

  7. At 04:48 PM on 12 Sep 2007, iFearless iFred wrote:

    So that's two Monty Pythin references in two days... Whod've thunk it?

  8. At 04:55 PM on 12 Sep 2007, iDeepthought (iJohn W) wrote:

    Alex was a remarkable Parrot. When reports say that he could "count to six", it was not, as it were, Parrot fashion, but you could ask him how many green things on a tray, and Alex could count them - up to six, and say (in English) the right answer.

    I wonder if they tried to get Alex to explain what other birds (I mean other African Greys) were doing at any time..as a kind of human/parrot translator....*that* would be interesting.

  9. At 05:13 PM on 12 Sep 2007, iSquirrel wrote:

    Re:5 That is 'true' Dr.H - if truth comes from the words of Mr Fry on QI - I'm sure he's right!

  10. At 05:20 PM on 12 Sep 2007, Piper wrote:

    What a Classy "Bird"

    To see him etc:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/10/science/10cnd-parrot.html?ei=5087%0A&em=&en=fd5b8ad1d7b6b1c9&ex=1189742400&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1189613351-Uk6uVRBYCbKrFUpWuk245w

    Alex, was a 31-year-old African gray parrot.

    He knew his colors and shapes, he learned about 150 English words

    A Dr. Pepperberg, who looked after Alex said his last known words were, as she said goodnight to him:

    “You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.”

    He was found dead in his cage the next morning, and was determined to have died late last Thursday night.

  11. At 05:32 PM on 12 Sep 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    What a shame! They could have recorded Alex giving the 'how to get in touch with PM' message. The link above is amazing, I didn't know anyone had proved that birds could use language rather than just repeating it.

  12. At 08:20 PM on 12 Sep 2007, imittfh wrote:

    Pretty (intelligent) Polly!

    Perhaps for their next experiment they can teach a pair of parrots...I'd love to hear their chat-up lines :)

    Of course, it's only a small step from teaching the parrots English to teaching them how to type, then only a small step until the parrots have their own Facebook page...

  13. At 08:39 PM on 12 Sep 2007, Humphi wrote:

    iRJD (1) I remember seeing a recording of a live performance that went something like:

    Cleese: [holding a bell shaped bird cage] I wish to register a complaint!
    [loud cheer from audience who know what to expect]
    Cleese: I wish to complain about this parrot, what I bought not ‘alf an hour ago from this very boutique.
    Palin: Oh yes? The Norwegian blue? Umm what is wrong with it?
    Cleese: I’ll tell you what is wrong with it, my lad. It’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!
    Palin: Well I better give you your money back, here you are!
    Cleese: [looks at the refund] Well you cannot say that Thatcher hasn’t changed some things for the better.

    H.

  14. At 09:46 PM on 12 Sep 2007, iDeepthought (iJohn W) wrote:

    Well, Dr Pepperberg is also training some other African Greys, so perhaps using sampling, "nodding" and other methods, we could get one of her parrots to guest on one of the "how to contact" clips for iPM.

    I wonder if Alex and the others had contact - could Alex teach the others? After all, learning by example has been proven in birds; a few of our very own titmice (Blue, Great etc) learnt how to peck through the aluminium top of milk bottles, (gold top for preference) and that skill spread like wildfire throughtout the land.

  15. At 12:16 AM on 13 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    DIWyman @4, dunno. The parrots in books for children, the only sort I have ever met, mostly seem to have been alive for *ever*, or at least since Grandfather brought them back from his Mis-Spent Youth. What's a usual lifetime for an African Grey anyhow?

  16. At 10:19 AM on 13 Sep 2007, Frances i wrote:

    imittfh (12) - Facebeak, surely.

    Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!

  17. At 10:34 AM on 13 Sep 2007, Annasee wrote:

    I thought parrots lived for ages - well over 50 years. Or am i confused with tortoises? Heard a fascinating programme about parrots last year, Radio4 or maybe World Service,I think, which said that sometimes they were so good at mimicking the voice of their owner, that if the owner died first, quite often a surviving spouse or relative would rehome the parrot because it was so spooky having the voice of the dead person still around.

  18. At 11:41 AM on 13 Sep 2007, iBigSis wrote:

    Annasee, I thought that, too, and there was all that malarkey about 'Chruchill's parrot' not that long ago, the bird in question being, supposedly, 104!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/3414323.stm

  19. At 11:50 AM on 13 Sep 2007, iFedUpFrogger wrote:

    Of course in the Blog's Bad Period it was like this!


    A frogger enters the PM site..

    FROGGER: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

    TECHIE: We're closin' for lunch.

    FRGR: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this Blog what I posted on not half an hour ago from this very keyboard.

    TCH: Oh yes, the, uh, the PM Blog ...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?

    FRGR: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'It's dead, that's what's wrong with it!

    TCH: No, no, it's uh,...it's resting.

    FRGR: Look, matey, I know a dead Blog when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

    TCH: No no it's not dead, it's, it's restin'! Remarkable Blog. The PM idn'it, ay? Beautiful verbage!

    FRGR: The verbage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

    TCH: Nononono, no, no! It's resting!

    FRGR: All right then, if it's restin', I'll wake it up!
    (shouting at the screen)
    'Ello, Mister PM Blog! I've got a lovely fresh posting for you if you show...(techie hits the screen)

    TCH: There, it moved!

    FRGR: No, it didn't, that was you hitting the screen!

    TCH: I never!!

    FRGR: Yes, you did!

    TCH: I never, never did anything...

    FRGR: (yelling and hitting the screen repeatedly) 'ELLO BLOG!!!!
    Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is a nice fresh posting!!

    FRGR: Now that's what I call a dead Blog.

    TCH: No, no.....No, it’s stunned!

    FRGR: STUNNED?!?

    TCH: Yeah! You stunned him, just as it was wakin' up! Blogs stun easily, major.

    FRGR: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That Blog is definitely deceased, and when I logged on not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged posting from Ed Iglehart.

    TCH: Well, it's...it's, ah...probably pining for Sequin.

    FRGR: PININ' for SEQUIN!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did it fall flat on its back the moment I got it home?

    TCH: The Blog prefers kippin' on it's back! Remarkable blog, id'nit, squire? Lovely verbage!

    FRGR: Look, I took the liberty of examining that blog when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been on the screen was because you had painted it there.
    (pause)

    TCH: Well, o'course it was painted there! If I hadn't painted that blog there, it would have diversified into numerous discussion groups and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

    FRGR: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this blog wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! 'It’s bleedin' demised!

    TCH: No no! 'It's pining!

    FRGR: It's not pining'! 'It's passed on! This blog is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker!
    'It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn't painted it on the screen it'd be pushing up the daisies!
    Its processing is now 'istory! It’s off the screen!
    It's kicked the bucket, It's shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!!
    THIS IS AN EX-BLOG!!
    (pause)

    TCH: Well, I'd better replace it, then.
    (he takes a quick peek behind the counter)
    TCH: Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop, and uh, we're right out of blogs.

    FRGR: I see. I see, I get the picture.

    TCH: I got a slug.
    (pause)

    FRGR: (sweet as sugar) Pray, does it converse?

    TCH: Nnnnot really.

    FRGR: WELL IT'S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT, IS IT?!!???!!?

  20. At 11:58 AM on 13 Sep 2007, iBigSis wrote:

    Annasee, I thought that, too, and there was all that malarkey about 'Chruchill's parrot' not that long ago, the bird in question being, supposedly, 104!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/3414323.stm

  21. At 01:43 PM on 13 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Frances @ 16, that surely ought to be

    Pieces of nine! Pieces of nine!

    Well, it's a parroty error...

    I'll get my coat, shall I?

  22. At 02:22 PM on 13 Sep 2007, RJD wrote:

    Chris - Two bytes walk into a bar. The first byte turns to the second and says "I think I may have a parity error." The second byte turns to the first and says "yeah, you look a bit off."

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.