Monday, March 9, 2009

Children in Trees

...and by children, I mean these:
This morning I was crossing the street on my walk in and I heard laughter coming from ahead and a little to the right.
Loud, raucous laughter. Then babbling. It sounded like children. After a moment of listening for direction, I realized that the noises echoing around my current patch of silent morning Pasadena came from one of these:
So, I realized that they were not early risen children speaking another language, they were, in fact, parrots. Red-crowned parrots, to be specific.

The story is that in 1965ish, a zoo partially went up in flames and the birds escaped. Now they're not a part of the natural food chain around here, so they travel in loud, obnoxious flocks and yell like people.

It's very disconcerting when they fly by your window or over your head.

But they're pretty, so at least it's 1 for 2 on the senses-pleasing scale.

The story of their release and current population reminds me of the love bugs in Florida:
The look gross but aren't really. They're about the size of lightning bugs, if you know what those are (maybe 3 or 4 mm long) and, on the rare occasion that you see one flying alone, that's what their appearance and flight pattern resembles.

However, they are not lightning bugs.

Why so emphatic, you ask? Because the darned things fly around while getting friendly (hence the name love bug), and their sense of direction is awful. I guess it comes from the two of them flying in opposite directions. That also means that they never go in a straight line, and fly very slowly (more like mosquitoes than anything else I suppose), and they'll land on you. And just hang out. Don't get me wrong, they don't bite or sting so I'm still a sort-of fan. But walking through swarms of them on a campus green is no fun at all.

Oh, and the worst thing? The thing that made most Floridians who read my speak of love bugs and emitted uncontrollable groans of displeasure? That would be that they, as well are not part of the natural food chain (the story I heard was that a Florida university was doing research on them, fruit fly style, and set them free when finished. That, or an animal rights group set them free. Reports are conflicting).

Here, the parrots aren't in the food chain so they just travel in large flocks. No biggie, and you don't see them every day. They're just loud when they pass by.

In Florida, when it's love bug season, it's love bug season. As in, when I was driving on the highway in '07, dropping of my soon-to-be-unused mattresses at a friend's house before the drive out to CA, it sounded as though I were driving through rain. And rain drop = love bug (or pair of love bugs, probably). Gross, I know.

Also, their bodies have corrosive chemicals, so after your car is unrecognizable in color on the front bumper because of the thick and crusty layer of love bug bodies, they'll eat away your paint. And they're extremely hard to wash off.

Here's a tip, Floridians: dryer sheets. A friend of a friend who worked at a car dealership clued me in. Wet the sheets, then scrub at the bugs. They come right off. Make sure to wash your car right afterwards though. The dryer sheet stuff isn't good for your paint either, if it sits there for more than an afternoon.

So, that's my story for this morning. In other news, my friends have been yelling at me to make a new vlog (the last one was before Turkey Day last year. Horrible, I know). Here's a link to my youtube channel for those of you who have tons of time to waste :) So I'll be doing that in the next couple days.

Happy Monday :)


amy (metz) walker said...

Yuck, I'm not a fan of any bug! I don't think I've ever seen a love bug.

Anonymous said...

they come around every other year in full force! They get everywhere, and not very romantic, I might add....Especially when you may not in a relationship!!!