Friday, December 7, 2007

animal planet

I spent enough time in Central and South American in my wayward youth to recognize the sound of a flock of parakeets before I saw the 100+ green bellies overhead. It's quite a racket, and full of menace, like some flying threat out of Harry Potter. All the cats ran for cover the moment they heard it.

My neighbor says that the flock of parakeets hangs out in the LP every year about this time, for a couple of weeks. She thinks they spend the rest of their time in Arcadia. Does anyone know more about them?

It is amazing to me that such a bizarre animal -- garish, noisy, and cheeky -- does so well in the non-native wild. There are escapee flocks in Austin and San Francisco, and probably plenty of other places as well.

Switching from the avidae to the felidae, the stray-cat situation is I think pretty much under control. Yesterday morning I trapped Wombat (the stray mom) and took her to the vet for spaying. Goodbye, $125. In the afternoon, I trapped the friendliest of the kittens and took her in for similar treatment when I picked mom up. Luckily, my neighbor is going to pay when she picks it up and takes it home this afternoon.

We still need to catch and spay the last two kittens, but my most serious cat concern is taken care of: After seeing me put Mom in a box and then Sister in a box, the kittens want nothing to do with me, our porch, or Voiceover. For his part, Voiceover is much, much calmer.

5 comments:

lnkn park said...

I have rescued a couple of litters of kittens before and both times they were nearly feral cats; never did really socialize very well and my wifes parents took one as well as my parents, so we have seen how they act long term. They were always very skiddish and wary of people in general.
Those parrots are another thing altogether. I remember seeing another flock that hung out in downtown LA on Bunker Hill when I used to work down there. Hundreds of birds sitting in Jacaranda trees sounding like tons of people bickering. There have actually been a couple of reports that the Arcadia flock is getting too big, and this flock of birds has broken off from them and spends all of there time around our area (north Pomona and Claremont). There are actually a couple of articles about it online from local papers (I think the Press Enterprise too).

meg said...

These cats are pretty friendly. The mother has always wanted lots of attention, and until I boxed up mom and sister, they devoted all of their efforts to getting into our house. Although one kitten is very shy, the grey one loved being picked up and petted, so I'm not worried about them as pets.

I think the mother is feral in the original sense of the word: born in a home but moved to the wild. She is always pleading to be somebody's pet again.

Speaking of which, I see her chasing squirrels in the yard. Pretty good, considering that 24 hours ago she was having a hysterectomy.

me said...

Good job on the cats, Meg. I don't have cats of my own, but have always welcomed the wealth of ferals that hang around LP, since I like to think they reduce the rat population. Most of the ferals I see on the streets of LP look like litter mates: white with grey, black and brown spotting.

About the birds, I seem to recall a few stories about them, so someone else should know more. I take it as a vote of confidence that the birds could have flown anywhere, but choose Pomona as a place to hang out.

G of P

Mark said...

I have only heard the birds. What a large noise (cool though!)
So, imagine my surprise that they are little parakeets! I pictured some huge crow type of bird or at least Parrots! I hope they stay.

Ed said...

These webpages may refer to the populations that we're seeing....or maybe not.

Parrots:
http://amazornia.us/home.html

www.californiaparrotproject.org
/red_crowned_parrot.html

Parakeets:
http://natureali.org/roserings.htm

Anyone have any binoculars handy?