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Scott's L.A.™ Article:
Parrots?  Wild In Pasadena?  ...Yep!

Visitor A: “Hey!  Did you hear that?  Sounds like parrots!”

Visitor B: “Parrots?  Are you kidding?  They live in the tropics, like the Amazon.  L.A. is a desert!”

Visitor A: “No, I’m serious, I heard parrots!”

Visitor B: “Oh yeah?  What do you want to bet?”

My advice to Visitor A is bet a great meal at a really fine restaurant, because you’ll win!  Thousands of wild parrots do live in the L.A. area, with an extremely high concentration in the San Gabriel valley surrounding Pasadena.  There are many conflicting stories of how and when they got here.  Some of them might even be true, or at least partially true.  It’s been said (as an absolute fact) that they came here sometime back in the 1920’s. Or the 1930’s. Or maybe it was the 1950’s.

The common thread of the stories (and the most believable) is that a pet store or an aviary caught fire and the owner let the captive birds go free in order to save their lives.  Newspaper and Internet accounts don’t agree, but the fact is the parrots are real, they’re here, and they’re very loud.  According to one expert interviewed on KPCC, they’ve been multiplying and inter-breeding for years.  As a result, there is now a new species of parrot unique to the San Gabriel Valley.

It’s most likely you’ll hear the parrots long before you actually see them.  They’re very social birds and they usually fly in groups ranging from a dozen or so up to a couple of hundred, and it’s common for them to “talk” to each other as they fly.  They also have a unique look to them as they fly because they flap their wings very quickly compared to other birds such as pigeons.  It’s also common for a hundred or so to land on a specific tree or building for an hour or so and they’ll just sit there and squawk.  These are wild birds, not tame, so they don’t sit still for very long.

Click here to hear Parrots squawking in a tree outside Scott's window in South Pasadena.
(33 second .mp3 file.  Size: 0.5MB)

Parrots resting in a Sierra Madre back yard, just east of Pasadena.

Photos courtesy of Ms. Dixie Coutant.
Used with permission.

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