Large flocks of wild parrots that currently make California their home include red and lilac-crowned parrots, white and blue-fronted parrots, and yellow-headed and red-lored parrots. Seven different types of parakeets also reside in different parts of California, including the mitred, red-masked, blue-crowned, black-hooded, yellow-chevroned, white-winged and rose-ringed parakeets.
No one is certain how these non-native birds first arrived, but it is believed they are captive birds that escaped. Some species may be descendants of those imported into the United States as part of the bird trade.
The birds feed on seeds and fruit from residential plants and have been able to thrive in California’s dry climate and cool winters. They live relatively free from the usual nest predation by snakes they would encounter in their native habitats.
The California Parrot Project was established in 1994 to monitor wild parrot populations. An objective is to educate and encourage the public to participate in the study of these urban birds.