A Surprising Encounter

Yesterday, Judy and I were in Brisbane, a small suburban community south of San Francisco. It was a beautiful day, so beautiful that I decided to stay outside and catch some sun while Judy went into her friend’s house to take care of some film business. I was leaning up against the car, passing time, when I heard faintly in the deep background a familiar sound: the squawking of several cherry-headed conures. That seemed a little far-fetched, and for a moment I assumed that I was mistaking something else for the parrots. Then I remembered that two or three years ago some flock members had been seen in Brisbane, which is eight and a half miles south of Telegraph Hill (as the crow flies). I kept hearing them, and they were getting louder. Suddenly I heard the sound they make when they leap into flight. Twelve of them flew directly overhead and then disappeared.

They’ve been expanding their territory over the years, but there aren’t so many—just 200 or so—that they’re as common as sparrows. It amazed me to bump into them so far from where I’ve always seen them. I’ve been down with a miserable cold, but they made me smile again.


11 Responses to “A Surprising Encounter”

  1. Phinium Says:

    Lovely post. Lovely moment for you.

  2. beysshoes Says:

    Thanks for sharing such a heartening moment with us. Gives me shivers.

  3. Josie Says:

    This is so great! The parrots are with you forever!

  4. michelle Says:

    “I was leaning up against the car, passing time”

    like that line:)

    thats really neat that you saw…(heard)…them!

  5. Chandani Diaz Says:

    What great news!!

  6. Shelley Says:

    Isn’t it nice to see (& hear) old friends!

  7. Todd R. Minner Says:

    I am thinking the Parrots in Brisbane perhaps came from the wise tale of parrots escaping from a broken crate from the sf airport.

    • markbittner Says:

      No. The flock has been working its way south for years. I’m sure it’s the North Waterfront Flock (a more accurate name, by the way, than “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill”).

  8. Todd R. Minner Says:

    Loved the film.

  9. Megan Montague Says:

    Do you think it is possible that birds in the flock may have recognized you, their benefactor, and swooped in for a confirming look? Studies have shown that crows can recognize individual human features… Whatever the case may be, thank you for adding some fascinating magic to the world.

    • markbittner Says:

      No. None of them would recognize me anymore. Also, they were in the distance and couldn’t see me (they were behind a hill) when they first started squawking. They took off, I’m rather certain, because of a hawk. Odd thing, though. They flew toward it—as they sometimes do.

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