I recently got a phone call from Jamie Gilardi, the executive director of the World Parrot Trust. He was calling because he’d been in San Francisco several times in the last month or so and had not seen any parrots out and about—not even one—which is unusual. He’d even gone to their roost spot and hadn’t found any there either. So Jamie called me to find out if I knew what was going on. As we talked I realized that I hadn’t been seeing any parrots either. I’ve been out of town a lot, but even when I’ve been home I haven’t been seeing any. But I’ve been too busy with my book to notice. I figured that if there had been a massive die-off or something, I would have heard about it. But it was worrisome, so I started asking around and got word that the flock has changed the location of their roost spot. That was a relief. Then, just two days ago we got a visit here at the house from two parents and a baby. (The babies usually fledge around the beginning of September. This is the first one I’ve seen this year.)
Later in the day I saw a large group flying in the distance. So the parrots are fine. And I think I know the reason they’ve been making themselves scarce in this part of town. When I came home yesterday our two birds were nowhere to be found. I looked all over the house and found them cowering in a darkened hallway. That always means one thing: a nasty hawk. I looked out the window of the bird room and, sure enough, there he was.
I’ve been seeing a lot of hawks around lately. Different species, too. Cooper’s, Red-Tail, Red-Shouldered. There’s even an imprint, that is, the outline of a hawk, on the window of the bird room. Some raptor flew into the window at full speed coming after our guys and left his mark. It’s too light to photograph, but it’s a bizarre sight. It must have terrified the little darlings.
To sum up, the flock is doing fine, but they’re having to play dodge ’em with the hawks, as they usually do this time of year when the hawks migrate across the Golden Gate and into the city on their way south.