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It Sounds Like a Jungle

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No, you’re not imagining it. You really are hearing a flock of tropical birds here in East Long Beach. That loud squawking is the sound of the feral parrots of Long Beach, most of which are the South American Mitred Parakeet, also known as the Mitred Conure.

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They’ve been seen in the East Long Beach neighborhoods, most notably Belmont Shore, since the 1980’s and their population is estimated to be between 200 and 500 in the flock. Some days I think they are all in our peppertree, given the noise and the mess they make.

They eat a little bit of everything, from persimmons to eucalyptus flowers, the bright red berries of the peppertrees to seeds. And they leave a mess, so I suggest not standing under the tree they’re in, and definitely don’t park under it! Below are the pepper berries left in our drive way after a 5 minute visit from our local flock this morning.

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Although usually heard in the early morning or near dusk, they can also be heard midday, even when flying high above the neighborhoods. Their friendly calls carry long distances and they announce their arrival when they find a tree that looks like a lunch buffet to them, then squawk their goodbyes as they all leave the tree at the same time.

A good place to spot the flock is in the tall palm trees at Ocean Blvd and Livingston Street.

If you want to know more about the parrots, there is a study called The California Parrot Project. If you happen to see the parrots, they want to know and you can report the siting at their website: http://californiaparrotproject.org/

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Parrots in our peppertree, East Long Beach, January 24, 2014

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