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Bird of the Week

Bird of the Week: These Parrots

The red-crowned parrot is a shrieking, beautiful beast.

Melissa McMasters

Hi, everyone! We’re doing something a little different for Bird of the Week this week. 1) I’m writing it instead of Jack and 2) it’s inspired by real life events instead of geography and general ability to impress us.

A couple Saturdays ago, this happened outside my house.

Yes, those are parrots. Red-crowned parrots, to be precise. You can’t tell from the video, but those yapping dots actually have vibrant red and green plumage, and are known for their uh, animated vocalizations. (Audubon describes the cries as heeeyo and cra-cra-cra which I love.)

The species is native to northeastern Mexico and reportedly entered the Southern California habitat through the pet trade some decades ago, though the specific details of their arrival are unclear. And while the birds are positively thriving in SoCal, their populations have dwindled in Mexico, so much so that they’re now considered endangered there. On a lighter note, here’s a fun fact that’s in every single article I read about these birds: A flock of parrots is known as a pandemonium. Incredible. Also incredible? These parrots!

Red-crowned parrots are such a common sight in my neighborhood that I’ve become nearly desensitized to them, but Jack brought me back to reality when I showed him the video from my front porch. “Ask me how much video footage i have of a boatload of freaking PARROTS in my area,” he wrote. “the answer is none because they do not exist!!” He had a point.

The ruckus that morning lasted for about two hours, and we actually didn’t even notice the birds leave, which makes me think they did so quietly and honestly? That’s a very cool move after relentlessly squawking for literal hours. These birds rule.