Thursday, February 18, 2010

Parrots in the South Bay

Can U C M? Squawking away at friends hidden in the fronds? One of the fearsome wild parrots of the South Bay, caught by my intrepid clicking fingers near the church-with-the-bell-tower, a landmark on Torrance Blvd. just before it slopes to the Redondo Pier.

The Parrot Project website says that free-flying parrots have been spotted around the area since the 1960s, and that the current population descends from escaped pets (or almost-pets)--a scenario repeated dozens of times.

According to local lore, the parrots all come from a few contraband birdies once confiscated by customs officials at LAX.

Not exactly true, according to parrot-tracking website Amazornia. Here's what they say:

"The wild parrots flying free in Southern California today are descendants of wild-caught parrots who were imported into the United States before importation was banned and somehow either escaped or were released intentionally. These birds were already well versed in their survival skills and able to establish themselves in areas where exotic plant life is plentiful."

Like Redondo Beach, where Majestic Magnolias line some of the streets. When their avocado-sized seed pods are ripe with big red berries, the parrots will hit tree after tree in the evenings, kind of like feathered barhoppers. The parrots scream loudly and obnoxiously, they pitch the used seed pods at cars. . . yeah, a lot like feathered barhoppers, getting good & soused.

Amazornia claims that pet parrots usually can't survive in the wild--the flocks in the area do not take new escapees in. What we see (and hear--oh, lordy, can you hear them!) are birds bred and raised wild.

Occasionally you can look up and see parrots sitting on a phone line. Watch for a minute--chances are one of them will start to fall backward and hang by his feet. Endlessly amusing.
According to Amazornia, these wild parrots are thriving, but in their native land the story is more dire. They are endangered due to habitat loss and hunting. So if they pitch a seed pod at you, be patient. Remember that these are the survivors of an endangered species, fighting to turn things around. We might have something to learn from them.


Anonymous said...

As I left a friends house this morning I was greeted by these birds that previously I had only seen in flight across the evening sky. This day they sat on phone lines yelling at each other. I got a visible head count of 16, not knowing how may were hidden in the nearby palm like tree. I took a couple of shoot for myself as a momento of the day I was finally less than 50 feet away from these world renowned stars of Redondo Beach. After reading the blog, I have an even greater appreciation for the moment. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Late this afternoon a group of about 15-20 parrots landed in the magnolia tree across the street. My 3 yr old ran to get her binoculars and we sat on the lawn for about 10 minutes or so watching them, one was on a wire keeping watch. Then when they were done they treated us to a show of swooping down nearly to the ground when they took off and flew right past us and up over the house. We are just NE of Anza and Del Amo.

Anonymous said...

S.00 pm sighting of a flock of at least 20 in the big palm trees in the Riviera just south of Calle Mayor and Via los Miradores. Pretty and pretty noisy.

Anonymous said...

Gold Hills area in N.Redondo we have a flock that lives in the surrounding area. I love hearing them in the morning and evenings making their rounds.

Anonymous said...

There is a flock in the El Camino Village area which I think live (particularly at night) in the vegetation and palm trees next to the Dominguez Channel. They tend to head north for the day but come squacking home to the Channel in the evenings. They remind me of a train that toots it's horn when crossing at the same time every day. Can't quite set your clocks by the parrots, but they're fairly predictable. I get a kick out of them.

Dennis Heck said...

Now that I am retired, at 9am every morning I walk my two dogs around the neighborhood in South Redondo and enjoy watching and hearing the parrots in the trees. I know that in the mid 80's when we first moved into the neighborhood, we had a row of juniper trees that have berries (used to make gin). The parrots would love to eat them and I would watch them for hours as they hung by their feed upside down munching on the juniper berries.

David I. said...

It is Monday June 29th 2015 2:30 A.M. I'm trying to sleep but can't get any due to these loud squawkers. I love having them during the day because they are beautiful, but on the other hand I want to mute their squawking at night. I mean if there was a waterfall and other ambient rainforest noises than I'd be okay. So I love and hate them. The end. Project and Aviation

Erin Lynch said...

The parrots (conyers) also reside in Hermosa Beach as I hear them squawking frequently from the date palms that line the Pier. They also like to make noise around my home on Monterey Blvd. my brother owns one as a pet who is adorable and cuddly so I have a renewed appreciation of them

Ed said...

For accurate census purposes, let me add Manhattan Beach to the conyers’ haunts. Flying (yep, and squawking) all over, but choosing to rest (and maybe nest?) in the palm trees sprinkled throughout the parking lot of the Manhattan Village Mall. Very neat.