HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — You just can’t gaze into a wild parrot’s eyes and not perceive an unrestrained zest for life, sparkling natural intelligence, and perhaps a bit of mischievous playfulness.
For the past dozen years or more, wild parrots have been visiting the backyard. They come and go as they wish throughout the day while gracing the feeder regularly in the late afternoon.
Red-crowned parrots are most abundant, but a lone Yellow-head also frequents the yard as does a solo Red-lored.
Both the Yellow-head and Red-lored often flock with Red-crowns, but they also appear individually. Over the years, they have become quite accustomed to my presence, perching in favorite trees and occasionally cocking their heads to see what the human is up to.
The Yellow-head in particular radiates a relaxed confidence developed over a decade and regards the backyard as his domain.
While Yellow-head and Red-lored are distinctive in their plumage, a couple of Red-crowns are noticeable because of their manmade accessories.
One Red crown regularly arrives with a silver band on its left leg, while another is burdened with a transmitter, most likely attached years ago during a parrot study.
Another unfortunate parrot has only one eye, however, the injured bird seems to thrive among the flock and even has a mate.
This summer a one-footed Red-crown has begun to visit. The bird is missing all its right toes and claws, seemingly severed just above the ankle. The wound has healed, and the parrot appears to be doing fine as it perches on one foot and feeds amongst other Red-crowns.
You just can’t help but wonder what tragedy befell these hardy survivors, from being captured and banded, somehow losing an eye or missing a foot.
When you look into those bright inquisitive eyes, all these birds have a story to tell, if only we could listen.