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My Life’s Birds: #403

July 7, 2010

December 24, 2006 – Boynton Beach, Fl – Because my mother-in-law was a birder, it didn’t take much to convince anyone in the family to give us some time to explore the area around Boynton Beach on the Atlantic coast of Florida.  Even though I was the designated “expert”, I didn’t have much of an idea about how to tackle the area.  Fortunately, I had the highly recommended Lane Birder’s Guide to Florida, recently updated by Bill Pranty, so I might as well have been an expert.  I had on my short list of birds to find, any of the hundreds of exotics for which Florida is famous.  I wasn’t picky either.  I would have taken the officially sanctioned exotics or even something crazy to bank for the inevitable pro forma acceptance of all exotics once our own native species are decimated in the not to distant future. I kid… kind of.

Anyhoo, my mother-in-law, my wife, and I spent the afternoon at the actual beach, looking for the population of Black-hooded Parakeets that are apparently thick anymore in the sea grapes that grow in the parks and public access areas along the shore.  We had little luck, spotting only a couple of long tailed green shapes heading out beyond where we could chase them.  They may well have been the parrots we sought, but in an area where multiple species are possible you never know.  That’s an odd thing to say in the United States.

We were driving back to my grandmother-in-laws place, lamenting lost psitticids, when I happened to glance at an otherwise unremarkable power line running past a strip mall.  We do it without thinking too much about it, mentally noting each species of bird as we head down the street and categorizing them in .  I had these particular lumps written off as Mourning Doves when a happened to catch a flash of green as we passed.  Hold on!  I pulled the car off into the parking lot at yanked out my scope to focus on a pair of Monk Parakeets walking back and forth along the lines in that cross legged way parrots do.  The Monks in Florida are part of a substantial population long since established all over the state.  They’re really no different than the Starlings and House Sparrows that already infect our urban landscapes, but for some reason parrots take advantage of a soft spot in humans that the other exotics don’t.  Maybe it’s their precocious nature, or their intelligence, but people are generally less willing to place the moniker “trash bird” on them with the same gusto as with their more established introduced colleagues.  But time will tell.

In any case, they count the same.  And for a lister they’re as beautiful as any other.

MONPAR via wikipedia


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