Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Wild Parrots of Seattle

A Pair of Mitred Conures in Golden Gardens Park, Photographed January 10, 2010

We have lived in the Ballard neighborhood of North Seattle since 1999. We knew about the wild parrots in Seward Park (see below), but after moving to Ballard we starting hearing that there was a flock of wild parrots in this neighborhood. Unfortunately the only locations we could ever get were really vague, and not very useful as a starting point in trying to locate the parrots. After about ten years of hearing about these parrots we were starting to think they were just an urban myth.

But recently, our local neighborhood newspaper,
The Ballard News-Tribune, published a photo of the parrots, taken January 10, 2010, at Golden Gardens Park:

The parrots look to be Mitred conures, same as the conures of Seward Park across the city on Lake Washington. We would guess that the Sunset Hill parrots are an independent flock because of the distance to Seward Park on Lake Washington, but we suppose it wouldn't be impossible for the parrots to forage that distance.

After the photo was published in the Ballard newspaper, we started hearing from people who live in the vicinity of Golden Gardens who have seen the parrots, and who were able to provide an actual location to see the parrots. According to this information, the best location to see the parrots is the top of the gully above Golden Gardens Park, west of 29th Avenue NW near NW 85th Street:

From the aerial map, it looks like Edgewest Drive NW may be the best access to the area. But at least it gives us a place to start looking.

This is earlier information from May of 2009 posted about the wild parrots of Seward Park:

Columbia Citizens neighborhood blog has recently posted updates on the wild conures of Seattle's Seward Park, in the neighborhood of 49th Avenue and Hudson Street. Photos of the parrots taken May 19 and May 20 can be seen on the blog post by going to the following link:

According to one local resident: In years past, maybe ten or twelve years ago, we counted fourteen parrots at one time. More recently the numbers seem to be dwindling…these days we see three or four maybe in our neck of the woods—43rd Avenue and Ferdinand Street. I was told they've been around for a long time and originated with a bird (or two) flying out of someone's open window.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Northwest Parrots Fund

Miguel & Nino are a bonded pair of macaws
that found a permanent home at Zazu's House
Parrot Sanctuary when their owner
experienced a medical emergency.

We are thrilled to announce the establishment of Northwest Parrots Fund, a nonprofit charity registered in the State of Washington, and recognized as a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity by the Internal Revenue Service.

We have been involved with parrot rescue and rehoming for several years Once we got our first parrot in 1999, people started giving us parrots because they could no longer care for them. We have fostered and rehomed just about every kind of parrot from budgie to macaw. Several that we couldn't find good new homes for we ended up adopting ourselves, so we now have a flock of seven parrots, including four macaws, two African greys, and a Goffin's cockatoo.

There is a pet parrot overpopulation problem, and the problem is just going to get worse. With estimates of twenty to forty million parrots in American homes, parrots rank behind only dogs and cats in popularity as pets Yet while dogs and cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, parrots are only two or three generations removed from the wilderness, if even that. Because of the difficulty of caring for parrots, a true flock animal, unlike dogs or cats, current research suggests that parrots experience six or seven homes just within the first ten years of their lives! Parrots are essentially wild animals! Further complicating the situation, dogs and cats live fifteen or twenty years. Parrots can live a human lifespan. Pet parrots often outlive their owners. This problem will intensify as the Baby Boomer generation slides into retirement.

We decided to formalize our rescue efforts and work toward establishing a 501(c)3 parrot rescue and sanctuary. We've taken the first step of registering Northwest Parrots Fund as a nonprofit charity with the State of Washington, and are in the process of formalizing the 501(c)3 paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service. We have a founding board of five members including Betsy Lott of Mollywood, and Donna Burleigh of S & D Exotic Bird Rescue in Oregon. Recently, Christy Hensrude of Zazu's House Parrot Sanctuary in Woodinville, Washington graciously agreed to join the board.

We have also established a website where you can find more information about Northwest Parrots Fund, and read about its mission in detail, as well as donate to the effort if you so choose:

Please visit our website and let us know what you think about our effort.

Nino, the Blue & Gold Macaw, and Miguel, the Scarlet Macaw

Our Greenwing Macaw and Diva Parrot Roxanne's Newest Music Video: Roxanne

Our Greenwing macaw and Diva parrot Roxanne can sing two songs, recognizably well. The first is You Are My Sunshine, Gene Autry's 1940 hit song. The second is Roxanne's namesake song, Roxanne, by The Police. We earlier produced a YouTube video of Roxanne singing You Are My Sunshine, accompanied by the late great Gene Autry. We have now managed to record Roxanne singing Roxanne, so we paired her vocals with The Police. We present: Roxanne, singing Roxanne:

For your added musical enjoyment, we also present Roxanne's original music video, You Are My Sunshine, featuring the late great Gene Autry: