Tuesday, July 08, 2008

better than a rooster


this isn't the first time i've posted about pasadena's parrots. lately we've been finding our neighborhood parrots to be especially squawky. they seem to know exactly when people don't want them to be making noise. can you see the parrot in this photo? he's in the upper half, right about the middle looking down at me taking his picture at the bottom of this tree. click on the image for a closer look. i don't think we have any fruit trees around, so i'm not sure why they like our building so much.

8 comments:

Keith said...

I've heard the fire explanation for how they got loose but I've also heard others. I wonder if anyone really knows for sure?

Ben Wideman said...

good question Keith. Anyone long time Pasadenians know the answer?

Palm Axis said...

I found this information on the origins of the birds..

A heavily accepted story by longtime residents of the Pasadena area is that the birds were part of the stock at Simpson's Nursery on East Colorado Blvd. in the Lamanda Park area. The nursery was burned down in 1959, and the parrots were thereby released to forage in the lush Pasadena area. It is also possible that some parrots moved northward from their normal range in central and northern Mexico as human habitation in the Pasadena area created artificial habitat in which the parrots could survive. Among their favorite foods are the berry kernels of the cedar trees that grow in great abundance around Pasadena.

When I was a kid, we never saw squirrels, skunks, raccoons, red tail hawks or parrots. I think we can draw a direct correlation between the elimination of the poison DDT to the increase of area wildlife. Like the California Condor, I think the birds were probably here but in small number.

pasadenapio said...

Simpson's Gardenland and Bird Farm was indeed destroyed by fire in 1959. There's no verification that the parrots flew away as a result. The local legends are certainly very strong that the parrots escaped or were set free during that fire, or that the parrots were owned by smugglers who freed them in an attemt to avoid arrest. The real story is lost to the ages, unfortunately.

Ben Wideman said...

Ah, I knew I could count on some locals to provide some info!

Thanks!

Palm Axis said...

I recall a flock of dime store parakeets that hung out in the Arroyo Seco back in the 80's but not parrots. I honestly don't recall seeing them till the mid 90's. Maybe I'll rent the movie "The Parrots From Telegraph Hill" It might have some answers.

Christina said...

I hold with the theory of natural migration north from Mexico. Parrots are not just found in Pasadena, but they're all over the West Coast, ranging from San Diego, the Inland Empire, and points north of San Francisco. Since they're everywhere, I don't think they escaped from somewhere in Pasadena.

As for the parrots in your 'hood, they may be eating the ripening little dates or even the flowers on your palm trees.

I can understand your frustration with the noise they make, but I have to admit I like the little green buggers. I think they're funny: every move they make seems exaggerated and comical.

Ben Wideman said...

Ah, I like the little guys too. It seems so exotic for a Canadian like me to have parrots in your backyard!