On Monday I spent about nine hours painting a gazebo in our backyard, which took me about 5-6 hours longer than I thought it would. That’s no fun, but it was a tedious project. What made it all okay though was that at about 5:45 as I was finishing, I was standing on a ladder as the sun was setting and it looked like it was about to rain, when all of a sudden I heard this loud…very loud noise. I looked up and it was two birds flying towards a tree near me. Eventually they landed and the noise they produced was unreal. What were they? Two huge parrots. Finally, I was personal witness to all the stories and myths surrounding the parrots, and the town I live in, Pasadena, CA. It is rumored that Pasadena, and especially the surrounding communities of Altadena and Arcadia are full of thousands of parrots. I had yet to see them, though I have heard them, and some of my friends have seen them when they were walking down the street and looked up, and saw a red parrot in a tree.

It was really a beautiful way to end that day painting, when I saw two beautiful parrots sitting in the tree in my neighbor’s backyard. I love living in Pasadena. It is a great community. Beautiful city. Beautiful architecture. Very diverse population. The Rose Bowl Parade ends near our street. Fuller Theological Seminary, Cal-Tech communities. Old Town. The weather. Etc. And now, finally, I have seen the rumored parrots in person.

Here is some more info. on the parrots of Pasadena:


Pasadena has a population of wild parrots. The city’s website identifies them as yellowhead amazon parrots, but according to the Parrot Project of Los Angeles, the parrots fall into as many as five different groups. There is a cycle of regular public outcry about the noise and the sheer oddity of the birds’ presence, but most Pasadena’s seem to have come to accept the birds as part of the city’s life. They can be seen year-round, but are especially noticeable in the winter. The birds are definitely gregarious, and the amount of disturbance their chatter creates is definitely related to the time of day they may choose to chatter.

Theories and myths abound on how these parrots came to claim Pasadena and surrounding towns as their home. A heavily accepted story by long-time residents of the area is that they were part of the stock at Simpson’s Nursery on East Colorado Blvd. in the Lamanda Park area. The nursery was burned down in 1969 and the parrots were thereby released to forage in the lush Pasadena area. It is also possible that some parrots moved northward from their normal in range in central and North Mexico as human habitation in the Pasadena area created artifical habitat in which the parrots could survive. Among their favorite foods are the berry kernels of the cedar trees which grow in great abundance around Pasadena.

For more info, check out The California Parrot Project