RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Almost every evening around the same time, Red-crowned parrots drop in for their twilight treats.
Alighting in a towering hackberry, more than a dozen bright green birds with radiant red crowns magically disappear amidst cloaking foliage.
Slowly, they emerge from concealment, some boldly perched in the late afternoon sun framed with blue sky. Others peer from leafy green Anaqua and Sabal Palm fronds, with a few show-offs dangling from various branches, sometimes rather precariously hanging by only one foot
Although they have been congregating in the safety of the backyard for generations, they always pause briefly confirming all is as it should be.
Parrot’s eyes are mesmerizing, with glowing orange iris encircling glistening dark pupil. Their large round eyes are full of life, radiating joyful spirit, and wild and free intelligence.
Soon, the first parrot drops onto the feeder, and once the lead bird lands it begins raining parrots. Diving from myriad perches, they quickly descend, and with some two-dozen Red-crowns crowding the feeder occasional squabbles are inevitable.
Raucous calls fill the air, while many wait their turn. The incessant chatter of this year’s young begging to be fed accompanies the spirited voices of mature birds.
Earlier in the year, Red-crowns were pairing up, now they are arriving in family groups, bringing their offspring to join the flock.
Sometimes, youngsters are rewarded with a meal from an attentive parent, while on other occasions tough love prevails, as young are encouraged to forage on their own. After all, they fly with the flock now and are quite capable of feeding on their own.
What a joy to be in the presence of these wild and beautiful birds, and when they depart in a burst of wings…one can hardly wait until tomorrow evening when they might choose to soar in once again.