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July 25, 2008

The Wild Parrots of Orange

This morning as I sat at the computer, through the open window I could hear the couple next door talking and exchanging information. It was the parrot couple next door. You may have heard of the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, well, Orange is one of the communities in Southern California that hosts flocks of wild parrots. They are Amazon parrots and one can find endangered red-crowned parrots, lilac-crowned parrots, red-lored parrots, white-fronted parrots, yellow-headed parrots and blue-fronted parrots. These parrots are usually found far apart in the Amazon but here they socialize and even share the same flock. They can be distinguished by stocky bodies and short, squared tails. They are also very noisy and loud. They talk to each other all the time and apparently also listen to each other. Part of the reason they are so noisy is that they are very attached to their flock and they are constantly calling to each other. They mate for life and are almost always see in twos or in flocks. They love the fruit and nuts grown here and descend on backyard trees to feast. They havenít paid a return visit to our almond trees that I know of but there are sometime suspicious empty shells on the ground. I have heard that they like magnolia blossoms and Jacaranda trees. We have those around here too.

There are a number of theories about why they are here. One theory is that a pet shop burned and the owner released them, feeling they could survive in this climate. A variation of this is that the firemen released them. A second theory is that a wild bird smuggling ring was about to be raided and they set the birds free so they couldnít be used as evidence. (They were afraid the birds would talk?) A third theory is that a truck hauling exotic birds had an accident and the birds escaped. A fourth theory is that they escaped from the aviary of an exotic bird lover. Another theory is that an eccentric bird lover let them loose to give them freedom, and lastly, some believe that they migrated here on their own. We will probably never know until we can speak parrot.

Parrots donít seem to attack other birds, steal their eggs or eat the baby birds the way many other birds so. They are noisy and messy but all birds are messy. One sometimes will see a person with a parrot on his shoulder (It is usually a man Ė I donít think a woman wants to have one sitting and pooping on her shoulder.) They live a long time Ė around 50 years. It is too late for Mmmm and me to get a parrot. I have also heard that unless one wants to live 50 years with a two year old that has a very sharp beak and will use it to take off chunks of flesh and sometimes a spare finger or two, a parrot is not the best pet for you. I will take our cat and just enjoy eavesdropping on the couple next door.

Parrot in almond tree


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