Thursday, August 18, 2011


When I first bought my house, I took a picture of the front. On later inspection, I saw perched on one of the wires -- phone or cable -- a green bird. I treated it like some sort of cryptozoological study. I had a jeweler's loop out in moments, saw it was some sort of parakeet or maybe a lovebird. I assumed at the time that someone's pet had become free.

Later I learned that New Orleans has a population of parrots. My bird book suggests they are monk parrots, a feral population established from escaped pets.

For the last decade, I've treated my occasional sightings of them with joy and wonder. I would see them in palm trees, hear them as they perched on wires or squabbled in the neighbor's magnolia tree. Most of the time, I saw them up around Elysian Fields, near UNO, in the palms that lined the median, bright flashes of green midst the dark foliage.

This year, though, it seems a population has finally made the permanent move into the Bywater. I see and hear them everyday now. I love it. It makes me feel as if I'm truly in a tropical setting. I munch on my pina colada snow ball and watch them dance on the power lines and try to invade the purple martin nesting boxes. They eat dates from a laden tree. Their shrieking -- not as articulate or ensnaring as a trained macaw's -- fills the air.

I know I shouldn't enjoy invasive species, but could something so cute and comical really deserve my rancor? I'll save it for the starlings.

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