By Salvatore Angius
Throughout California, I have filmed thirteen parrot species in over thirty cities to date. Of the current thirteen species of California naturalized parrot flocks filmed, the largest in both flock member population and species diversity occurs in various cities throughout California’s San Gabriel Valley. Pictured here are the endangered Red Crowned Amazon parrot, originally from Central Mexico, they have made their homes in our numerous San Gabriel Valley cities such as Pasadena, Monrovia, Temple City, Arcadia, Rosemead, Duarte,Pomona, Laverne, Covina, West Covina, Azusa and El Monte.
The success that these naturally tropical birds have to survive many decades in California is astonishing. Originally from tropical American countries and India, This success stems mainly finding the right amount of edible, imported landscaping trees and shrubs which are consumed year round.
Another contributing factor to their success is their history. These parrots were descendants of wild caught birds imported during the seventies/eighties while parrot importation was legal and occurred heavily. In other words, these parrots are a far cry from today’s pet parrots which have been humanly dependent and literally hand raised , thus further dulling these wild survival instincts. Parrots are also noted to learn from other flock members while in their flock, making survival easier for them as well.
It is still unclear how these birds first arrived in California, many stories have emerged which include but not limited to: Pet store fires, aviary and circus releases by employees, closing of a popular theme park in Van Nuys, a truck accident overturning numerous wooden cages full of parrots, even reports of parrots flying out of moving airplanes during transportation. Although it seems that these stories are varied and likely to change in the future, one thing that is unlikely to change is the consistent and future presence of these remarkable birds.
I continue to search for these flocks and I have publicly uploaded many of my videos which can be seen on a Youtube channel known as Californiaflocks. My channel’s mission is to raise human awareness and appreciation for the parrots that share our state, while giving viewers insight into the lives of these exotic beauties which fly over our heads.