Sunday, December 5, 2010

East Side Story

I had a great view of a camphor treetop melée between a small flock of LA County black crows and about five dozen territorial San Gabriel Valley parrots. I really wish I'd thought to take some video just to get an audio track of that incredible racket! After about fifteen minutes, the crows took off and the parrots changed their tune from bad-ass squawks to celebratory hollers rivaling a Staples Center sing-along of We Will Rock You.

Here, a couple of victors took a post-brawl dip in a street puddle left over from the recent rain.

14 comments:

Mister Earl said...

Rare catch, to see parrots down on the ground like that. I was at Starbucks/Wells Fargo yesterday around 8, and I heard a huge racket. The entire local flock was rising up over western South Pas. Then a few splinter groups broke off and headed to the east. I wondered where the small group was going and why they split off.

Judy Williams said...

There is just something about a wild bird's fluttering wings. I often go crazy with comments about them on other photo sites.

This cool color palette (literally, as opposed to warm) really is wonderful. I like the reflective diagonal line of the water on the curb. Awesome.

TheChieftess said...

I would have loved to see/hear that one!!!

Green Guy said...

I've never seen them in the street. What a catch! Usually when I try to take their picture, they scatter anyway. Did you have a long zoom?

Anonymous said...

this is a perfect blog post. Great from the words to the image and subject title. I really enjoy your work.

Susan

dbdubya said...

A woman once wrote the South Pasadena Animal Commission complaining about the wild parrots and asking that they be removed from the city since they weren't native. She got an interesting but disappointing letter back saying, amonng other things, that there is no hunting allowed in South Pasadena.

Laurie said...

Hey guys!

Thank you so much, Susan. And welcome!

Green Guy, I got lucky here. It's quite obvious I'll never be hired to shoot for National Geographic, but I managed to catch these little fellas with my point and shoot. (Its a great little Fujifilm 10 megapixel that has all the manual settings and a decent lens for a point and shoot. Just a lousy zoom.) If you barely move around a parrot, the bird will scram, so I just sat like a statue for about fifteen minutes. If I'd been closer, maybe I could have gotten something that wasn't so grainy. But hey, it's a moment remembered.

DB, I wonder about the people who don't like the parrots. It's like complaining that a rare orchid is blooming in your yard. It's like not liking the fact that there are so many rainbows in Hawaii. What the hell? Can you tell I have an opinion about this? ;-) And yes, they're hovering over my house all the time. I love every minute of it.

THanks, everyone!

dbdubya said...

The complaints I heard from a number of people were mostly about the noise and sometimes about the mess. They are particularly loud, especially if you're trying to sleep, and at one time they used to perch in a tree under which I parked my car. My car became a parrot toilet and they are very productive, if you know what I mean.

Being from Texas you are probably familiar with Sand Hill Cranes. I see them in Colorado sometimes when they are migrating for the winter. They're very large birds who travel in large flocks. While geese are very organized and picturesque in flight, Sand Hill Cranes are comical. You can hear them a mile away. They are all squawking at the same time, and they fly in a circle, making very little progress. One will break from formation and start flying in the opposite direction when makes them all go crazy. It's speculated that this is what one of them does when tired and wants the others to roost. Except it doesn't seem to work. It just makes them more vocal and they slowly continue south. It must take them most of the year to get to Texas where they winter. My Colorado friend says they must all be female because they are all talking at the same time and they don't know where they are going.

Don't beat me up for that - I'm just quoting a local expert.

WV: waika - the sound a Sand Hill Crane makes

Dixie Jane said...

Great capture. Funny thing about birds. They will take a dip in a street puddle. But they will also do the same thing in dirt. I haven't figured that one out.

Mister Earl said...

One morning I was waiting for the Gold Line train to take me to work. The parrots were particularly loud as they perched on a power line. Finally, from one of the houses near the corner came a loud, "Shut the f--- up!!"
Didn't work.

For those of you who don't live in South Pas, from a distance, you can't really see that the parrots are green. You need to spot them in a tree, on a wire in the right light, or up close, like Laurie did.

Laurie said...

Oh, I hear all the complaints. And my car is covered with bird poop, too. But I love the green monsters and I'd be so sad if they weren't here. I love the peacocks who roam around and make a ton of noise. I love the squirrels who hurl acorns at my dogs and dig up my flower pots to bury the ones they don't throw.

Life is so miraculous, and so diverse, to live among these creatures is a privilege for me. Not many people in urban settings have wild parrots waking them up. It's cool. Every morning I watch them through the skylight over our bed as they chow down on camphor berries and gossip about whatever it is that parrots gossip about. When I tell people in other parts of the world that I have wild parrots flying around, they think I'm making it up. I think it's part of the magic of this part of town, and I love, love, love every loud, squawking one of the birds.

I've been woken up by screaming neighbors and gunfire, by loved ones crying, by phone calls in the night with tragic news. I love the nuisance animals we live with because it's part of the wonderfulness of life. For me, anyway.

And here I've gotten all Capra-sentimental and gooey on everybody. I'll try to find my badass self again.

Mike said...

This is great.

Anonymous said...

What a great picture! I've never seen them on the ground before.

Those parrot-crow turf wars can get incredibly loud. A bunch of parrots were just outside my place the other day, and were really worked up about something. SQUAAAAK!!!

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