Thinking Like a Parrot

Thinking Like a Parrot[PDF / Epub] ✑ Thinking Like a Parrot ☄ Alan Bond – People form enduring emotional bonds with other animal species such as dogs cats and horses For the most part these are domesticated animals with one notable exception many people form close and suppo People form enduring emotional bonds with other animal species such as dogs cats and horses For the most part these are domesticated animals with one notable exception many people form close and supportive relationships with parrots even though these amusing and curious birds remain thoroughly wild creatures What enables this uniue group of animals to form social bonds with people and what does this mean for their survival In Thinking Like a Parrot Alan B Thinking Like MOBI :✓ Bond and Judy Diamond look beyond much of the standard work on captive parrots to the mischievous inuisitive and astonishingly vocal parrots of the wild Focusing on the psychology and ecology of wild parrots Bond and Diamond document their distinctive social behavior sophisticated cognition and extraordinary vocal abilities Also included are short vignettes—field notes on the natural history and behavior of both rare and widely distributed species from the neotropical crimson fronted parakeet to New Zealand’s flightless ground dwelling kākāpō This composite approach makes clear that the behavior of captive parrots is grounded in the birds’ wild ecology and evolution revealing that parrots’ ability to bond with people is an evolutionary accident a by product of the intense sociality and flexible behavior that characterize their lives Despite their adaptability and intelligence however nearly all large parrot species are rare threatened or endangered To successfully manage and restore these wild populations Bond and Diamond argue we must develop a fuller understanding of their biology and the complex set of ecological and behavioral traits that has led to their vulnerability Spanning the global distribution of parrot species Thinking Like a Parrot is rich with surprising insights into parrot intelligence flexibility and—even in the face of threats—resilience.


Thinking Like a Parrot eBook · Thinking Like  MOBI
  • Hardcover
  • 296 pages
  • Thinking Like a Parrot
  • Alan Bond
  • 19 October 2015
  • 9780226248783

8 thoughts on “Thinking Like a Parrot

  1. Grrlscientist says:

    After we clambered down from the trees ourselves people have kept and sometimes bred parrots as pets for ceremonial purposes and to advertize their personal wealth or power to their fellow humans for than three thousand years But unlike cats dogs and the other animals that we live with parrots are not domesticated; they are still wild animals What is it about parrots that enables them to form close social bonds with people?Parrots’ obvious cleverness gregarious personalities rich social lives behavioral flexibility and long lifespans combined with their almost uncanny ability to mimic sounds gives them the social flexibility to bond to humans and impart a seemingly human like intelligence For many parrot keepers these birds are family members and for some of us parrots are our best and perhaps only friends Considering the outsized presence of parrots in our lives our homes and our imaginations we often think we know nearly everything there is to know about them — but do we really?Much of what we know about parrots is the result of working with captive individuals rather than wild birds In fact parrots have always been particularly challenging to study in the wild so our knowledge of how they think and live away from human control is still expanding This new book Thinking Like a Parrot Perspectives from the Wild by Alan Bond and Judy Diamond University of Chicago Press; 2019 focuses on the psychology and ecology of wild parrots sharing what we know about their social behavior cognition and vocal abilities As we the readers embark on this fascinating adventure of discovery we couldn’t have finer guides Alan Bond is professor emeritus of biological sciences at the University of Nebraska and Judy Diamond is professor and curator at the University of Nebraska State Museum Together they have studied the social behavior cognition and vocalizations of wild parrots for than three decades Under their expert guidance we meet brilliant keas cheeky sulphur crested cockatoos affable crimson fronted parakeets dazzling rainbow lorikeets adaptable rose ringed parakeets and adorable kakaposThe book is divided into seven parts each of which except the last one contains two or thee chapters The first of these chapters presents field notes and observations of a particular parrot species that the authors studied in the wild followed by a chapter or two that presents an in depth explanation of relevant research into an aspect of parrot ecology and evolution “Through this composite approach we hope to give a sense of how the indications of intelligence and the sometimes frustrating behavior of captive parrots have their sources in the birds’ wild ecology and evolution” Professors Bond and Diamond write in the preface p xiii Indeed capturing the reader’s attention with anecdotes about wild parrots before exploring the subtleties of their behaviors is a wonderful way to appeal to the readerThis book is filled with intriguing information some of it new or unfamiliar to those who know parrots best For example we learn that the vocally flexible kākā are talented singers that have regional vocal dialects whilst their closest living relatives the kea do not; that rose ringed parakeets have been introduced accidentally or purposefully in over 70 countries and have established breeding populations in half of them; and that newly independent male kākāpō can attack and inflict serious injury to their much smaller female siblingsIn this engaging and wonderfully written book Professors Bond and Diamond provide a readable overview of wild parrots how both evolution and ecology have shaped the physical architecture of parrots’ extraordinarily large brains and how that has given rise to their sensory abilities and their memory before launching into an in depth exploration of what wild parrots can do with their magnificent brains their complex social networks and relationships their vocal communication their sophisticated and flexible problem solving abilities and intelligence cognition in the wild and how parrots express their emotions and playProfessors Bond and Diamond also provide insights into why despite their adaptability and intelligence some parrot species are so vulnerable to extinction whilst others can establish breeding populations in alien landscapes far from their natural ranges Indeed to restore and protect these endangered wild parrot populations the authors argue that we must develop a nuanced understanding of the special biology that underpins endangered parrot species and an appreciation for the ecological and behavioral traits that led to their vulnerabilityWhilst reading this book I emailed the authors and discussed a variety of points they made For example I asked for their thoughts about Alex Irene Pepperberg’s grey parrot and how he independently used the word “none” to indicate the absence of something — a seemingly huge intellectual breakthrough“Yes we do know that Alex used the word ‘none’” Professor Diamond responded in email“Alan knows Irene pretty well” Professor Diamond continued “The uestion is how Alex learned the concept of ‘none’ and how he represented it cognitively It could be for example that he learned ‘none’ as a response when there was no obvious choice eg ‘I can’t respond’ so that is relatively easy to generalize to other situations where he couldn’t make a choice” Professor Diamond explained “The issue with Alex is that there are many alternative interpretations of some of his responses Hard not to cherry pick”I asked Professor Diamond how the minds of parrots and people can seem so similar despite following separate evolutionary trajectories for many millions of years?“The apparent similarities between the minds of parrots and those of people are not the reflection of a common inheritance but rather a convergence — two separate lineages evolving some strikingly similar solutions to life’s problems” Professor Diamond responded in emailIn fact parrots are so intelligent and are such keen observers of human behavior that it has been alleged that they have a “Theory of Mind” A Theory of Mind has two features first it is the ability to attribute mental states — beliefs intents desires emotions knowledge and so forth — to oneself and to others and second it is the ability to understand that others have beliefs desires intentions and perspectives that are different from one’s own Based on my own experiences with parrots it seemed that at least some parrot species are good candidates for possessing a Theory of Mind So I was surprised to read that Professors Bond and Diamond flatly state in their book that parrots do not have a Theory of Mind p 139 which lead me to ask Professor Diamond whether any birds — specifically any of the corvids — may have a Theory of Mind?“We don’t feel that there is sufficient evidence for Theory of Mind in any bird” Professor Diamond responded in emailOf course finding uneuivocal scientific evidence for a Theory of Mind in animals such as parrots is a very difficult exercise because they are such conscientious observers of human behaviorIn the last chapter of the book entitled “Captain Flint Meets Polynesia” Professors Bond and Diamond summarize points made in their book with a comparison of two literary parrot extremes Captain Flint the macaw in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island who repeatedly shouted “Pieces of eight Pieces of eight” with no grasp of the meaning behind her mimicked utterances versus Polynesia Dr Doolittle’s polyglot companion grey parrot whose intelligence transcends that of humans“These two avian characters epitomize the abilities that make parrots stand out from all other birds Flint and Polynesia don’t just speak they are close friends and confidants of their human companions But a bright line separates how their vocalizations are portrayed Flint is an automated voice recorder; Polynesia is a little person in a parrot suit Flint understands nothing; she simply echoes the sounds she hears on shipboard Polynesia understands everything She has a full grasp of linguistics a comprehensive memory and a well developed theory of mind which allows her to deceive hapless humans The relationship between actual people and actual parrots lies somewhere between these literary polar opposites” Bond and Diamond p 132A careful reading of this book makes it plain that the behaviors of captive parrots stem from the wild birds’ ecology and evolution revealing that parrots’ ability to bond with people is an evolutionary accident a by product of their intense sociality and the flexible behavior that characterize their livesThis captivating book’s appealing design makes it even accessible to its readership It includes many dozens of useful diagrams maps and black and white photographs embedded within the text alongside the relevant portion of the book as well as a crowd pleasing 16 page inset of full color photographs of parrots This scholarly work respects its readers’ time and intelligence by meticulously citing all the information presented nearly half of the total length of the book consists of a number of useful appendices detailed chapter notes extensive references 72 pages and a handy index 6 pages Altogether these sections comprise 122 pages of the book and provide interested readers with a veritable treasure trove of primary literature sources so we can read and explore in depth on our ownOver the years I have read almost every book about parrots published in the English language and this is hands down the best parrot book published in the past ten years and certainly one of the best ever published This succinct and erudite summary of the latest scientific research into these birds’ natural history biology ecology and evolution is most unusual because it will be read and cherished by ornithologists and scientists as well as non specialists and by parrot breeders behaviorists and owners alike for years to come and will appeal to anyone who wishes to learn about how parrots view the worldNOTE Originally published at Forbes on 19 September 2019

  2. John Geary says:

    Interesting book It may not be for all tastes as it is written in a very “scientific“ style That’s not to say it’s difficult to read; the chapters are short and the concepts are easy to understand The authors have done an excellent job of turning scientific knowledge into writing that the average lay person can understand They’ve also done an excellent job of footnoting everything that needs to be Basically the book looks at the different behaviours in wild parrots and how by studying them over the past 30 years humans have been able to better understand why the birds do what they do – and how that relates to or can relate to the parrots we have in our homes as companion animals It certainly demonstrates with ample documentation that parrots’ brains are far complex and intelligent than what we have given them credit for in the pastThe book is almost 300 pages long but only 141 of those pages are actual text The rest are photo plates appendices and footnotes

  3. Cat says:

    35 uite charming little look at the social world of wild parrots

  4. Lacey Losh says:

    This is an excellent book for anyone who loves parrots and wants to learn about particular varieties especially the endangered species native to New Zealand but lots of parrot knowledge insight and science is included

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