Posts Tagged ‘La Verne’

Oak Titmouse

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I saw the oak titmouse on my morning walk! A pair of them were playing at sunrise as the clouds in the sky turned pink, then yellow, then white. They were hopping about in the bushes that grow through the chain-link fences around Amber Ridge. The call of one of them was distinct — confirmed by listening at the Cornell Online Birding Lab — presumably the male. The other, presumably the female, was quiet.

Songs & Calls of the Oak Titmouse

Later, I saw a white crowned sparrow fly down from the branches of an oak tree and a black Phoebe circling low through the air for insects … I could hear the hummingbirds, already awake, and the mockingbirds. I saw a black crow. This is just an ordinary day here!

Least Bittern

I was so happy to see a female Least Bittern hunting along the edge of Puddingstone Reservoir this morning! I also saw her in flight. Later, I was able to compare, while still in the field, the Least Bittern to a larger Green Heron. Extraordinary! the pictures here are of both male and female least bitterns. They are a bit different …

American White Pelicans

AmericanWhitePelicans

Photograph by Jane Beal

PSALM 33
Two Pelicans at Twilight

Strange angels have come down from the sky,

white and shining, with orange mouths, open –

they never leave one another’s side.

I see this picture of loyalty on the lake

as the Sun goes down.

jb

Psalms for the God of Birds
(in progress)

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Bonelli Regional Park
La Verne, CA

Yellow-Headed Parrot

YelloHeadedParrotwToday, I saw the yellow-headed parrots very clearly and distinctly flying in the Saturday morning sunlight and settling in the trees near my place in La Verne.

Wild Parrot of Los Angeles

Near the end of September, I began hearing wild bird calls near my home that sounded nothing like any bird I had ever heard in California. They would circle about the sky in flocks, but I would see only their silhouettes, which did not afford me opportunity to identify them by their distinct markings. They seemed to prefer to alight high in the highest trees — and they were very loud.

Finally, I googled “loud birds in La Verne,” and I immediately found that someone else had recorded their cries and identified them:  they’re parrots!

This led me to do a little research on the wild parrot populations of Los Angeles. As it turns out, there are several species living wild here:

  1. Rose-ringed Parakeets (Conures) from tropical Africa and India
  2. Lilac Crowned Parrots (Amazons) from the Pacific Coast of Mexico (vulnerable)
  3. Red Crowned Parrots from NE Mexico (endangered)
  4. Yellow Headed Parrots from southern Mexico down to Honduras (endangered)
  5. Red Lored Parrots from the Caribbean Coast in southern Mexico down to Nicaragua
  6. Red Masked Parakeets from Ecuador and Peru
  7. Mitred Parakeets from Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina
  8. Blue Crowned Parakeets from eastern Colombia all the way south to Argentina
  9. Yellow Chevroned Parakeets from countries south of the Amazon River Basin
  10. Nanday Parakeets from central South America
  11. Blue (Turquoise) Fronted Parrots from central South America

Yellow-Headed Parrots

Here’s a video of several varieties of parrots who are living right here in SoCal. There are at least four explanations for how they established themselves here:

  1. There are verified reports of small bird traders in the 1940s and ’50s who had accidents en route and let their wild-caught, caged parrots free without meaning to.
  2. In 1959, parrots were released from Simpson’s Garden Town Nursery on the east side of Pasadena when it caught fire. Rather than watch 65-70 birds in the pet shop burn up, an injured employee, with the help of firefighters, freed as many as he could.
  3. In the San Fernando Valley, parrots are said to have been released in 1979 by Busch Gardens – an exotic tourist attraction theme park set up by Anheuser Busch to draw the public to their Van Nuys beer manufacturing facility. When the company moved its headquarters to a different location, they attempted to place their collection of birds in zoos and private homes, setting free those they were unable to place.
  4. Most of California’s pet parrots showed up during a time when importing parrots was still legal – approximately 41,550 in the early ’80s, according to Long Beach’s Press Telegram News (08/22/13). However, as some parrot species became endangered in their home countries, their importation became illegal and smugglers are said to have released parrots to avoid being caught.

Source:  Sustainable Sue

I’m glad that many of these parrots, endangered in their home countries, are making their new homes here in safety.

 

Green Heron

Photos by Alice Holthuis

 

Belted Kingfisher

My sister Alice recently came to visit me, and we went hiking this past Thursday. We had the pleasure of seeing pairs of belted kingfishers flying over Puddingstone Reservoir in Bonelli Regional Park. Their call is quite distinctive!