RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas — Wild Red-crown parrots add a fascinating tropical flair to the Rio Grande Valley and are an important asset to the Valley’s $400 million plus ecotourism economy. Richard Moore explains the parrots are protected by state and local ordinance.

It is peak nesting season for red-crowned parrots in the Rio Grande Valley, and you may see a parrot or two poking their heads out of a palm tree cavity in your neighborhood.

Recent studies have put the Valley’s red-crowned parrot population at approximately 700 birds, scattered from Brownsville to McAllen.

Dawn Gardiner, Assistant Field Supervisor for the Ecological Services Office with United States Fish and Wildlife Service out of Corpus Christi, recognizes the importance of the tropical birds to the Valley’s annual 400 million dollar plus ecotourism industry.

“The red-crown parrots are a native species, and they are very well appreciated by the tourism industry down in the Valley.”

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service recently issued a bulletin stating that red-crowned parrots in the Valley are not currently in need of protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Gretchen Nareff, Biologist USFWS, “So, we did this species status assessment, and reviewed the best available science that we have and determined at this time it is not endangered or threatened.”

While Red-crowned parrots are not protected by federal law, as they and other parrots were exempted from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1935, they are also recognized as native birds by the state of Texas and are protected by state statute.

In addition to state protection, which prohibits nest robbery or capture of wild red-crowned parrots, the birds are also protected by city ordinances in the major cites of the Valley.

“For now, we think that the parrots are in really good hands with the state and local entities that are helping them.” Says Gardiner.