If you live anywhere near Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley, you have heard them. If you live in Eagle Rock or the Silverlake/Echo Park regions, you will recognize the sound. Twice a day, dawn and dusk, no days off for weekends or holidays. Parrots! The squawk of a parrot is unmistakable, but hundreds of them in flight creates a cacophonous noise so loud, you might think the sky is falling (or screaming).
It's a fact they number in the thousands; around three thousand from all reports, but how they came to live here is up for debate. Stories range from a pet store(s) that burned down, and all the birds were released, to daring pet parrot escapes, and legal & illegal bird trade. One version of the "all the birds were released" had the birds coming from the closing of Busch Gardens. The pet store theory dates back to 1959 and seems to be everyone's favorite tale to tell, though the truth of their origins are most likely a combination of all these stories.
We know there are around eleven species of parrots that now call L.A. their home. The predominant breeds are the Red-Crowned Parrot from Mexico (endangered), the Yellow-Headed Parrot from Southern Mexico down to Honduras (endangered), and the Red-Lored Parrot from the Caribbean Coast in Southern Mexico down to Nicaragua. It's interesting to note they are all considered native now, because they have been here in So Cal for such a long time. Sort of like the humans that flock here for the good weather and plentiful roosting opportunities.
Digging through our photo collection and newspaper archives, I found images of parrots and parakeets (which are small parrots), and articles from the past and thought I'd share. Enjoy these birds in blissful silence.