Wild parrots in San Diego, USA

Red-headed conureIPS reports:

Wild Parrots Tame the Concrete Jungle

Enrique Gili

SAN DIEGO, United States, May 18 – Southern California has a vast array of transplants lured by the moderate climate and endless days of sunshine, and perhaps none are more exotic than the urban parrots that have come to colonise bedroom communities ringing major cities like San Diego and Los Angeles.

Parrot populations are surging in cities worldwide even as their habitats are fast disappearing in the wild.

Each morning, residents of Ocean Beach, San Diego get an eyeful and earful as small groups of parrots pass through, behaving like rowdy fraternity boys on a pub crawl.

They’re seldom alone and almost never quiet. The parrots fly from tree to tree foraging for food, their distinctive squawks echoing through the neighbourhood. …

Residents of Ocean Beach believe the parrots arrived 25 years ago after a pet store burned down, and they never left.

The seaside community is now home to a flock of 100 naturalised parrots composed of red-headed conures and stubby-winged amazons.

Red-and-green parakeets in San Francisco: here.

Struggles of San Francisco’s Parrots: here.

Fossil Eocene parrot: here.

3 thoughts on “Wild parrots in San Diego, USA

  1. Exotic fossils reveal Seasalter’s wild past

    Last modified: 12 September 2008

    Seasalter fossil
    Fossil of a ‘parrot-like bird’ found at Seasalter. Seasalter fossil – (RSPB)

    Fossils thought to be around 55-million-years-old have been found on Kent’s Seasalter Levels, highlighting the area’s long-standing connection to nature.

    The find – two complete bird skulls, a pelvis and several bones – appears to be the remains of parrot-like birds. The fossils are thought to date back to the Eocene period, a time before humans and most other mammals had evolved, when the area had a tropical climate.

    The fossils were found by local archaeologist Mark Harrison, directly behind the Seasalter Levels Nature Reserve, run by the RSPB, Canterbury City Council, Swale Borough Council and Natural England.

    Alan Johnson, RSPB North Kent Marshes reserves manager, said: “Mark’s discovery indicates that Seasalter Levels has been a wildlife haven for millions of years. We can’t promise parrots but we could see a huge variety of wetland wildlife, which thrived here in the not too distant past, make a comeback due to our conservation work.”

    He added: “These fossils show how wildlife has adapted to climate changes in the past but the situation we now face is unprecedented as it is the result of human behaviour. As conditions become increasingly hostile, reserves like Seasalter Levels have never been so important. Species struggling elsewhere may look to these restored, protected habitats to survive.”

    Mr Harrison has been working along the Kent coastline for 20 years and has also found snakes, sharks and reptile fossils around the Levels.

    He said: “This is rare and surprising find – birds’ skeletons are so fragile, the chances of them being preserved are almost inconceivable. The shape of the skulls tends to suggest that they were perching birds, which may have fallen out of the mangrove forest that grew in the area and into the mud.”

    The fossils will now undergo a lengthy identification process to determine their origin.



  2. Smuggled Gold – Three young Endangered Golden Parakeets Guaruba guarouba from Brazil were recently discovered in a cage as part of the illegal parrot trade monitoring in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. They were apparently being transported illegally from Brazil to Peru via Bolivia. The illegal trade of wild birds in Bolivia continues to be one of the most serious threats to many species, such as Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis, Red-fronted Macaw Ara rubrogenys and Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus. However, it now seems to be not just Bolivian birds that are suffering from the country’s illegal trade.



  3. Rare birds released into Sweetwater Marsh

    South Bay habitat upgrades give birds brighter future

    By Mike Lee

    Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 3:02 p.m.

    Employees of SeaWorld and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service release light-footed clapper rails into the Sweetwater marsh.

    Thirteen light-footed clapper rails were released at the Sweetwater Marsh this week as part of a decade-long initiative to keep the rare shorebirds from going extinct.

    It was the biggest event of its kind ever in San Diego, and it was followed on Thursday by a groundbreaking ceremony for a major salt marsh restoration project in the South Bay.

    The moves bode well for the clapper rail, which declined rapidly in prior decades as coastal development disturbed its habitat. The bird’s population reached an all-time low of 142 pairs in the 1980s, then rebounded to a recent high of 243 pairs in 2007.

    Since 2001, biologists have been breeding the clapper rails in captivity and releasing them at about 10 spots between Santa Barbara and San Diego. The effort is designed to move birds around the coast so they don’t become isolated and inbreed in small pockets of habitat.

    “We are throwing them a genetic lifeline,” said Charles Gailband, conservation director at the Chula Vista Nature Center, a partner in the clapper rail project. “We want to make sure that these birds are genetically healthy enough that when they have (more) habitat, they will survive.”

    Additional habitat is on the way in the South Bay.

    A project celebrated on Thursday by local, state and federal officials includes removing 67,000 cubic yards of material from the Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve. Excavating the muck will lower the existing elevations and add tidal channels that will create salt marsh habitat to support shorebirds.

    Lowering the salt marsh elevation also will improve the chances for native plants such as pickleweed, cordgrass and salt grasses to survive with less competition from invasives such as iceplant.

    Representatives from the Unified Port of San Diego, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the California Coastal Conservancy and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. The agencies provided $7 million in grant funding for the work.

    Mike Lee: (619)293-2034; mike.lee@uniontrib.com. Follow on Twitter @sdenvirobeat.


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