Sunday, January 07, 2007


Note: Links have been updated in previous post - "Music In My Soul."

FROM NYC TO L.A. ... is it possible the birds are taking over coast to coast? After reading the post at Time Goes By, I wondered. Before I write more about those birds, I'm reminded of that Alfred Hitchcock suspense movie, "The Birds" starring Tippi Hedren. I felt let down when I saw the movie. I didn't really think it was one of Hitches better movies. I even found the ending not that traumatic though many others were quite shaken by the climax. I thought it was a pretty weak movie compared to "Psycho," but have been cautioned it's a mistake to compare them.

I did a quick perusal of Wikipedia about this movie and found this interesting: "Instead of a typical film soundtrack Hitchcock painstakingly had Oskar Sala create bird sounds on his trautonium, which were then scored to the movie by Bernard Herrmann. The fact that there are no natural bird sounds makes it of interest to the field of musicology. There is a very high-pitched soundtrack of electronic noise through the film which subconsciously adds to the tension experienced by the viewer."

But about birds, more specifically, those which are not native North American residents -- recommend you read Ronni Bennett's interesting piece at Time Goes By . Not only were her observations quite thought provoking about adaptation, but on a more concrete level, comments of others were very informative, too. The comment I felt prompted to make there was becoming quite lengthy. I've concluded when that happens, I should just write a piece here.

I think some of the birds described there are similar to the ones with which I recently became acquainted. Also, I'm convinced the birds I saw here are the same breed as the ones in the recent award-winning documentary movie mentioned that was set in San Francisco. There's a link there to that movie in a comment by Donna where you can see in full color birds like those I saw at a distance, and hear the sounds they produce. Note: Donna writes at Changing Places

New York, Chicago are cited and now I'm adding Los Angeles to that list of cities where non-native wild birds have adapted to life in urban and suburban areas. That's right, we have wild parrots in the Los Angeles County area, too! A couple weeks ago I was being awakened at dawn by less than musical bird sounds. I wondered what new bird was migrating through. Well, morning after morning I heard them. Then one night at dusk I heard them in greater numbers and louder volume than previously. Venturing out of my house at dusk I could just make out fluttering birds in tree-full numbers settling in to roost for the night in a huge tree a couple of houses east of mine, here in a small city in northeastern L.A. County.

By the next day the birds were moving on, just as our local paper and a couple other area newspapers started having articles, and pictures of bright colored green parrots with red heads -- a flock of maybe 300 they said. Seems what Brooklyn, San Francisco, Chicago have reported is similar here. The cause of these parrots "escape" from captivity many years ago is attributed to several possible stories, including "somebody just turned a pair loose," "the parrots escaped from their owners," to "the parrots were hastily turned loose by smugglers trying to avoid arrest." Pick your colorful story, or imagine one of your own, as they all seem to have been offered as explanations about how these parrots came to be here. Frankly, I don't think anybody knows for sure and those who might know, aren't about to admit it.

What is known for sure, is that the parrots have been permanent residents of Temple City, CA for many years, and the thought is the flock has grown so large, this group ventured out for new territory to harvest certain tree pods this time of year, then they move on, or even that they might be looking to settle permanently in a new environment. My next door neighbors said they arose one morning to find their yard filled with the entrancing sight of these red accented bright green birds. I've had my new digital camera at the ready, but the parrots have moved on en masse, and I never did get to see their full beauty, but I have to tell you that I sure do not miss their noise. I am a bird lover, but I might add I don't think I would miss at all what birds in that number might deposit in my yard overnight should they decide to perch in my trees.

Seems there are different types of non-native birds, and probably other creature species, which are adapting to living in our country. Even more adaptation is taking place through moving from the wild countryside to urban areas. Birds such as Peregrine Falcons and Red-tailed Hawks are successfully doing so as you can read at this Nature site:
that mentions "The Wild Side of New York" with birds such as Peregrine Falcons and Red-tailed Hawks and the famous "Red Tails In Love."

In our suburban area we have shared our habitat with owls I've heard and occasionally seen at night. Daytime finds young crows strutting through our yards, swooping through the air trying to avoid the darting assaults of mockingbirds defending their egg-filled nests from these marauders. Our older crows were almost extinguished a few years ago when the West Nile Virus swept through the area taking a toll on
their numbers. I must confess these crows do not substitute for my favorite songbirds, but I do admire how they have adapted as we humans have infringed on their area by moving into the mountains and foothills. Though we're an hours auto drive from the Pacific Ocean, sea gulls are seen soaring through our air daily. Do they come further inland in search of food because there are fewer fishing boats and accessible sea food harvesting for them? I don't know, but I wonder.

At the Nature web site link noted above in the section about "Urban Ecology" I read a quote which we humans would be well-advised to adopt whatever our circumstances and environment: "The more adaptable a species, the better it is at urban life." Or, I might add, the more we adapt at every age, the better we will each be at not only survival, despite what life may send our way, but at actually prospering and deriving pleasure from life, family and friends in the process of living.


  1. "The more adaptable a species, the better it is at urban life."

    That is a very truthful quote! This reminded me of mr. kenju (whatever species he is, I haven't figuired out yet) when we were in Italy last Oct. He was not very adaptable to the differences we found there (in bathrooms/trains/taxis, etc.) and I feared for his ability to adapt anywhere at this age.

  2. Ronni is always wonderful to spot things and write about them! On the birds... I thought it so strange to hear a bird sing in the morning one day in NYC (I wondered if birds would hang out in the concrete)...with no birds replying back. We're all in a gumbo discombulation globally with invasive species, altered environments, etc. Yes, we must learn to adapt. Actually I think we are genetically programmed to be malleable.

    And your writing on birds is interesting.

  3. What an interesting post. I especially was interested in the music in The Birds as a life ling Hitchcock fan.

    I believe in man's ability to adapt -- I'm a study in adapting and someday I'll write about it.

    In the meantime:

    Gooooooooooooooooooo Buckeyes!!!!!