Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Breakfast with the Parrots!

One of the hundred or more big green friends who showed up for breakfast in my back yard this morning.

No one tells you when you move to Los Angeles from other places, as many of us have, that you might wake up one day to find the trees in your yard full of hundreds of big, green, squawking parrots.  It’s magical.  And loud.  And usually fairly temporary, as the flock sits for a while and then moves on, not to be seen again for weeks, months or sometimes even years.

This morning, though, our yard was treated to such a visit, and when the loud squawks announced the visitors’ arrival, it was definitely time to drop everything and pick up a camera.



According to CurbedLA, there are two main stories about the origins of LA’s wild parrots.  The first is that they are descended from pet birds released by homeowners during a 1961 brush fire in Bel Air.  The second is that they came from the old Busch Gardens Theme Park in Van Nuys.  According to Curbed, “The park operated an aviary in the 1960s and ’70s, but it shut down in 1979 when the park turned into a full-time brewery. While many parrots were shipped to zoos, it’s believed some were set free or managed to escape their cages.”



Whatever the origin(s), there are clearly a lot of parrots making themselves at home in our urban trees.  In fact, according to a handy-dandy identification page from the California Parrot Project, there are now at least 13 species of parrots in California. (Near as I can tell, the birds in my yard this morning were probably Mitered Parakeets, which come originally from Peru and Bolivia.)



Luckily, however, although the birds are not native to our area, their presence doesn’t appear to be disruptive to the local ecosystem.  According to a more detailed history, from the Havasi Wilderness Foundation:

“Many people have speculated as to whether these naturalized parrots pose a threat to the native ecosystems. Although these birds are not sufficiently studied, so far it appears that they are a benign addition to the natural habitat. No ill effects on native vegetation and bird species have been reported in response to the introduction and population growth of the wild parrots. This is most likely due to the fact that the birds sustain themselves off introduced plant species, and therefore do not utilize many resources from the native habitat. It so appears that these quirky little critters may be here to stay for years to come. Curiously, two of the species, the Red-crowned Parrot and Yellow-headed Parrot, are endangered in their native habitat. Perhaps they have found a safe haven in which to rescue their species here in the urban jungle of Southern California.”

So if your yard is graced with a visit, grab a camera…and enjoy.


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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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  1. What a great story and wonderful photos. The parrots are a favorite part of the neighborhood- they seem to make their way down our palm-lined street quite regularly , loud and strong!


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