By Christopher W.
For many decades, Santa Barbarians have enjoyed seeing the flock of bright green squawkers on their way from their roosts in Montecito over the Riviera toward their foraging grounds in San Roque to Samarkand to Hope Ranch and back home again. Perhaps stopping in your back yard along the way.
Their origins are debated. They may have escaped sometime before the 1950’s, or in the 1970’s, or, they may be a naturally displaced population of their misleadingly named species (Lilac-Crowned Amazon Parrots) which are native to the Pacific Slopes of Mexico as far north as the upper Sea of Cortez, not the Amazon. Over the years their numbers have fluctuated from 6 to 14 and more members.
It is reported that the debris flow disrupted their roosting area in Montecito and the flock was quickly beset upon by predators who took out all but 3 of the birds. The three remained until this past spring when the lone female disappeared just before nesting.
What remains are 2 bonded males. One is a hybrid (Lilac-Crowned and Double Yellow-Headed) and likely sterile. The other is the last remaining viable Lilac-Crowned parrot. Efforts are being considered to potentially restock the flock with rescued wild birds from other locations in California. Or, potentially, an escaped pet could join them, which is a long, long shot. So, if you see these two, consider yourself privileged and wish them the best for their shaky future.