ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

San Diego's Wild About Parrots!

Updated on October 7, 2014

San Diego's Little Known Bird Secret

Many people don't think of parrots when they visit San Diego. Most people probably think of pelicans, gulls, maybe a shorebird or two. But, there are at least a dozen species flying around California. Where I live in San Diego, I mostly see either red-crowned parrots and rose-ringed parakeets. There's a few other species flying around that I don't recognize. Each night, and sometimes in the morning, I see them flying past my apartment building.

I generally have reservations against non-native species. Most of them are detrimental to native wildlife. Sparrows kill other bird's babies and take over nesting cavities, for example. Parrots also use nesting cavities, but it's unknown if they are directly competing against native species by using them. The parrots I've observed tend to nest and socialize in areas where most native birds don't like or have a preference for. They also don't seem to compete with other birds for noise.

Some people have sympathy for these birds because they are so decimated in their home range. Habitat destruction as well as the pet trade has had a great impact on them. While they're declining in their home range, they seem to be thriving in California, Texas, and Florida.

Even though they're not native, I actually feel privileged being able to live in an area with wild parrots flying by without having to leave the country.

Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (A Love Story)

All Over California

You may have heard of the movie "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill". There was even a movie of the same name. The movie centered on a flock of wild red-masked parakeets in San Francisco and the man who looked after them. It's not only a story about wild parrots, it's a love story, too. You'll just have to watch the movie to find out why I say that.

I believe we also have red-masked parakeets here in San Diego, but I'm not sure. There are many different parrot populations all over California, with some species preferring a certain part of town or city over others.

They also seem to prefer different types of nesting cavities. Most of the birds I've seen like the California fan palms, but I once saw a small flock using decorative holes in a man's home for nesting. The guy who owned the home, I was told, liked the parrots. There once a large population breeding in the trees near the Adam's Humanities building at SDSU before they cut the trees down. The parrots flew around the neighborhood for months looking for a new home. I think they're now nesting in a palm grove down the road from the university

Parrot in Redondo Area

This parrot actually lives up north, but is one of the kinds that we see here in San Diego, too.
This parrot actually lives up north, but is one of the kinds that we see here in San Diego, too. | Source

Where You Can See Them

In San Diego, the beach areas are the best place to consistently see parrots. I remember doing volunteer work for San Diego Audubon at Mission Bay and seeing a flock of red-crowned parrots flying back and forth. I've also seen them along Friar's Road near the San Diego River, Ocean Beach, Imperial Beach, El Cajon, and the College Area.

Facts About San Diego's Wild Parrots

Here are a few facts about San Diego's (and much of California's) wild parrots:

  • Many species are endangered or threatened in their home range due to habitat destruction or the pet trade
  • They are truly wild. Though their ancestors may have come from domestic stock (or from wild-caught birds destined for the pet trade), the flocks in San Diego were hatched and raised in the wild and are not escaped pets
  • Most of the parrots species originated in Mexico and areas south of there, but a few come from Asia and other areas in the Eastern Hemisphere.
  • Red-crowned parrots are considered "countable" by the American Birding Association who keeps an official list of species.

Are These Parrots Harmful to Native Birds?

Do you think they are competing or are harmful to native birds?

See results

So-Cal Parrot's Exhibit at the Bird Fair

This was So-Cal Parrot's educational exhibit at the San Diego Bird Fair in 2014.  The birds in the cage are conures that were un-releasable.
This was So-Cal Parrot's educational exhibit at the San Diego Bird Fair in 2014. The birds in the cage are conures that were un-releasable. | Source

So-Cal Parrot

I once went to a bird fair and got to know this group called So Cal Parrot. They advocate for the wild parrots in southern California by educating people about them. If you ever find an injured wild parrot, you can bring them to So-Cal Parrot and they will help it.

One of the thing they heavily advocate is not keeping parrots as pets, especially wild-captured parrots. According to them, they don't make good pets for many reasons. I agree with them. Parrots are a LOT of work and need constant care and stimulation and are very intelligent. They often have temper-tantrums and can actually injure a person with their strong bills and sharp claws on their feet. They also tend to live an extremely long time. Having a parrot is a life-long commitment because parrots don't do well when they are constantly passed around to new homes.

More Links About Wild Parrots in California

Here are some more links about wild parrots living in the California area and their advocates. **More to be added at a later date***

The California Parrot Project

Parrots--California Parrots Flying Free

Uncovering the Mystery of Wild Parrots in Southern California

Parrots Enjoying the San Diego Sunflowers


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)