(apologies to Bogart and Bacall)

If you live in or near Burbank you probably know that we have large flocks of wild parrots here. These birds are originally from South America, but way back in the 60’s & 70’s Busch Gardens operated a theme park with an aviary and some believe these birds are descendants from escapees. Others say they simply migrated from Mexico and found the Southern California climate and food to their liking. There are several different species, the ones I see most often here are Red-crowned Parrots. They are about the size of a crow, brightly colored, and very talkative. They are also crazy fast and skittish about people.

Yesterday I was out for a walk in my neighborhood and I saw a large flock of them land in a tree and begin loudly celebrating all the berries they were finding to eat there. The late afternoon light was perfect, and some of them perched on the top of the tree with an impossibly blue sky and clouds behind them. I was about 6 blocks from my house, WITH NO CAMERA, so I turned and sprinted back like Carl Lewis trying to break the Olympic world record. I grabbed the camera and big lens, jumped in my car, and sped off down the street. As I approached the tree the entire flock leaped into the air and flew off into the distance. Damn it! Skunked again.

Birds will often return to the same area at the same time of day, so this afternoon I went back and there they were! There is some secret signal that tells them all to fly at the same time, and they dart from tree to tree like a single organism. All the pictures here were shot within the span of 2 minutes at the most, and then they were gone again.

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