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Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Forget Bird Watching, Try Parrot Listening

By Laura Doering, Editor of BIRD TALK and BirdChannel.com
Join in on Laura's fun and experiences of bird ownership, and share in her adventures as the editor of BIRD TALK in Wayward Feathers.

I just added another parrot household to my mental map. I went for a run before work, and there it was, the undeniable parrot sound bite: the “come here” whistle.  This is my equivalent of bird watching … parrot listening while out and about. I know just about every parrot household within a one-mile radius of my home because, let’s face it … parrots are vocal! You never know when or where a parrot is going to pop up, and unless the bird is in a visually accessible place, such as a front porch or window, you only have its calls to go by as a way of identification.

I’m guessing the one I heard this morning was an African grey parrot, or possibly an Amazon. But, for the record, I’m going with a grey because its calls seemed a smidgen more refrained than a boisterous Amazon. I’ve never been owned by a grey, but I always imagine them as the type to make an attention-grabbing sound and then playing it smug when the intended target turns around.

So now I have the house on Santa Ana Ave. to add to my list of bird homes in my neighborhood. Of course, I’d have to jump a couple backyard fences to pinpoint exactly which house on Santa Ana has a parrot, but with a little effort, I could narrow it down (i.e. whistle back and hope for a reply).

I can’t help but feel a sense of camaraderie whenever I hear a parrot calling from its home perch. The people inside know the joy of having a companion that not only talks back, but also has no qualms about talking or whistling to strangers. Every neighborhood could use a calling parrot.

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