The Bird’s The Word (2001)

Have you shopped at Spring Farms, visited the greeting parrot at the Paw Shoppe or left off photos at the One Hour Moto Photo at the shopping center at Spring and Palo Verde, and thought you were in a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” set in that very parking lot?  Was there an enormous buzz that resembled the squawking of a large of birds?   If so, don’t worry.  Your ears don’t deceive.  As many who frequent this center will testify, the bird is definitely the word.
More specifically the noises are caused by 20 to 30 “Cherry Top Conyers” Parrots that live in the palm trees nearest to these three storefronts.   Many think they somehow relate to the parrot that greets customers at the Paw Shoppe, but according to Linda Hamilton, that shop’s manager, “My bird here doesn’t even notice them.”  Though many customers assume otherwise, her shop has nothing to do with these birds.

“They are green with a red top head,” thus Cherry Top.  “They’ve been here for a long time.  I have no idea where they come from,” said Hamilton.  “Some people say a breeder just lost them.  Maybe a shipment in, the cages were open and they flew out,” though Hamilton makes clear that she doesn’t subscribe to any of these theories.  “Scotty’s Pet Store used to be in here 10 years ago, down where the Postal Annex is,” but whether they came from that source is unknown to Hamilton who’s been at this location for four years.

According to Ken, manager of One Hour Moto Photo, “the birds have been around for at least five years.  They might have been dropped off by someone who freed them from their cages.  During the winter months, they spend some time at Rancho Alamitos on Bixby Hill,” apparently commuting from that site about a mile south back and forth between the shopping center.

“When they trim the trees back, they leave, but then they come back,” said Hamilton.  “In the mornings, they’re out.  The neighbors say they fly over their homes at different times during the day.  When they find injured ones, they sometimes bring them in.  I tell them to take them to the vets.  We try and help as much as we can.”

“They’re the size of a pigeon,” said Hamilton.  “They make a racket when they fly over the this area, they squawk.  They are very noticeable.  The fly in flocks of 20 to 30 of them.  People tell me they go over their homes. They’re surprised when they find them in the trees. I’ve heard them, but when they chirp, you can’t see them.” Hamilton states that they never bother shoppers or others who use the parking lot.

Hamilton recalled one very dramatic moment this past summer.  “At around two o’clock in the afternoon, they were chirping very loudly.  Then it was very quiet.  A few minutes later, without a sound, all of them flew out of their trees at the exact same time.  All of them came out of the trees over the parking lot, it was amazing.  They made a formation, then they flew away.  Probably the chirping was when they were deciding to fly away.”

Hamilton has witnessed no similar formation of these birds since that time.  On several occasions in the past few days, their noise has been quite noticeable and within a few minutes, all is totally quiet.

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