Saturday, August 6, 2016

Screaming birds suddenly silent

A (what I took to be) green parrot with a black head sat on a top branch in a crape myrtle in the back yard. The bird made a couple of screams and ate some berries.

Priscilla had commented on another parrot a couple of days ago, one sitting in the same crape myrtle. “We wondered what they ate,” she said. "Now we know."

Two flights stay here for a month or so this time of the year. The birds are noisy -- screaming when taking off from the big oak trees, screaming while flying, screaming when landing, screaming while sitting in the trees. Maybe the birds scream, “I’m here! I’m here!” so the others will know nobody has become lost or eaten, or maybe the birds scream, “That’s my place! Don’t you even think about landing in my place!” The tone and volume of the screams sound like the latter, but I don’t speak Bird.

The parrot this morning ate a couple of berries and just sat on the branch. Then, another landed and ate a berry. I looked closer and saw another I had not seen, and then another and another … Altogether, there were six birds in the crape myrtle, their green blending with the leaves.

One bird flew to another crape myrtle, about 10 feet away. Soon, more birds flew in and landed in the second tree. The birds were not screaming; very unusual. Maybe there’s a bird rule: No screaming while eating.

I focused on the first tree and counted seven birds. The second tree had five. A dozen black-headed green parrots, and not one was screaming.

That couldn’t last. And it didn’t.

Something startled a bird, and all fifteen took flight – the dozen I had seen, and the three hidden in the second tree.

The birds are about 12 inches long and have a wing span of around 23 inches. And, I found with a simple search, they are black-headed parakeets, not parrots.

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