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
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
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.