Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Wild Parrots of Pasadena

Remember the movie "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill?" A great film about wild parrots in San Francisco. Well, as it turns out, there are wild parrots in Pasadena, too, as we recently discovered.

We'd had breakfast at the Corner Bakery on Lake St. and were strolling up the block afterwards--when sounds from a sidewalk pepper tree attracted our attention. Pepper tree berries were raining onto the ground, and there was a great clacking of beaks. "What kind of birds are those??" we asked each other. Peering into the greenery, we finally saw them. Parrots! Lots of parrots! More parrots than we could count, all chomping away like like pepper tree mowing machines.

We stood there watching them for awhile, then finally crossed the street. From there, we saw the parrot flock take off in formation, looking for all the world like military jets, swooping low over the street and then up and away.

A quick Google search revealed that there are enough wild parrots around Pasadena for them to be real pests. They can gather to roost at night by the hundreds. Apparently the noise can be deafening. Pasadena's lush landscaping and abundant street trees provide them with an abundant food supply, so they are thriving.

How did they get there? Some people release pet parrots into the great outdoors when they are no longer wanted. I also saw online references to a caged parrot flock that got loose during an earthquake and were never recovered. In any case, for better or worse, it looks like Pasadena's wild parrots are here to stay!