Apparent Burrowing Parakeets in southeast San Diego


Philip Unitt
 

Dear friends,

My bike ride this morning was intended as more of a history tour than birding, but while I was at the corner of 32nd St. and Clay Ave. in southeast San Diego I was surprised to see a flock of four very large parakeets come flying in. They had notably long graduated tails and a call that was gentler than the horrid shriek of the Red-masked Parakeet. They landed in a dead leafless Canary Island date palm close by, and I scrambled to get my binoculars out of my backpack. While I could see two of the birds on the palm's bare trunk I noted that the general plumage was a pretty dark dull greenish and around the eye was a teardrop or comma-shaped area of white, presumably bare skin. I thought the forehead was dull dark reddish, but in the many photos of the Burrowing Parakeet I see via a Google search the forehead never looks more than vaguely dark purplish. I couldn't see the birds' breast or underparts clearly, and after a few seconds the flock flew off to the northwest. I cruised around a few blocks that direction searching but couldn't refind it.

I have never seen the Burrowing Parakeet before but the birds' size clearly larger than the Red-masked, the long rectrices with rounded tips, the size and shape of the white around the eye, and the lack of contrasting red in the wings or tail made me think of the Burrowing Parakeet. I see it see it has been reported in this forum at least a couple of times, though not for a few years. Reports via eBird aren't visible to the public so there could be some via that medium I don't know about. These birds didn't have the pale maxilla of the Blue-crowned Parakeet, with which I'm familiar from the days when a flock patronized my Catalina cherry trees that I had planted at my old house in North Park. And they looked still larger than the Blue-crowned.

So is the Burrowing Parakeet another exotic parrot establishing itself in San Diego?

Thanks much,

Philip Unitt
San Diego


Justyn Stahl
 

Phil,

I see only 10 records in eBird of Burrowing Parakeet, all hidden from public view as this species is not currently on the eBird (or the CBRC) "watch list." Of course, this isn't the full story, because not all observations are in eBird, but most records are from the Tijuana River Valley with counts in the single digits, the first report being a pair on 1 January 2012. Two notable counts include: 23 on 29 March 2020 in the Tijuana River Valley (https://ebird.org/checklist/S66390195) and more recently, Jim Pawlicki had a group of 13 in Friendship Park in Chula Vista on 2 January 2021 (https://ebird.org/checklist/S78540774). I had a similar encounter as you did a year or two ago in North Park, when an unfamiliar, long-tailed parakeet flew over, and my views were fleeting, but I suspect it was this species. I do not believe this species is making a foothold in San Diego just yet, given the low number and rate of reports, and I wonder if the larger flocks were all from single release(s)?

On a related psittacid note - the Red-crowned Parrot seems to have disappeared from the San Diego CBC circle, with just a few Lilac-crowned and Yellow-headed Parrots (in the vicinity of the Tijuana River Estuary NWR Visitor's Center) reported in recent years.

Refined treatment of exotic species is forthcoming from eBird.

Best,
Justyn Stahl  


On Sun, Feb 14, 2021 at 3:08 PM Philip Unitt <unitt@...> wrote:
Dear friends,

My bike ride this morning was intended as more of a history tour than birding, but while I was at the corner of 32nd St. and Clay Ave. in southeast San Diego I was surprised to see a flock of four very large parakeets come flying in. They had notably long graduated tails and a call that was gentler than the horrid shriek of the Red-masked Parakeet. They landed in a dead leafless Canary Island date palm close by, and I scrambled to get my binoculars out of my backpack. While I could see two of the birds on the palm's bare trunk I noted that the general plumage was a pretty dark dull greenish and around the eye was a teardrop or comma-shaped area of white, presumably bare skin. I thought the forehead was dull dark reddish, but in the many photos of the Burrowing Parakeet I see via a Google search the forehead never looks more than vaguely dark purplish. I couldn't see the birds' breast or underparts clearly, and after a few seconds the flock flew off to the northwest. I cruised around a few blocks that direction searching but couldn't refind it.

I have never seen the Burrowing Parakeet before but the birds' size clearly larger than the Red-masked, the long rectrices with rounded tips, the size and shape of the white around the eye, and the lack of contrasting red in the wings or tail made me think of the Burrowing Parakeet. I see it see it has been reported in this forum at least a couple of times, though not for a few years. Reports via eBird aren't visible to the public so there could be some via that medium I don't know about. These birds didn't have the pale maxilla of the Blue-crowned Parakeet, with which I'm familiar from the days when a flock patronized my Catalina cherry trees that I had planted at my old house in North Park. And they looked still larger than the Blue-crowned.

So is the Burrowing Parakeet another exotic parrot establishing itself in San Diego?

Thanks much,

Philip Unitt
San Diego







Doug Aguillard
 

They are in the IB and National City areas. I see them at least twice a week with most times consistenting of 2-6 birds at a time.

Doug

On Sun, Feb 14, 2021, 3:30 PM Justyn Stahl <justyn.stahl@...> wrote:
Phil,

I see only 10 records in eBird of Burrowing Parakeet, all hidden from public view as this species is not currently on the eBird (or the CBRC) "watch list." Of course, this isn't the full story, because not all observations are in eBird, but most records are from the Tijuana River Valley with counts in the single digits, the first report being a pair on 1 January 2012. Two notable counts include: 23 on 29 March 2020 in the Tijuana River Valley (https://ebird.org/checklist/S66390195) and more recently, Jim Pawlicki had a group of 13 in Friendship Park in Chula Vista on 2 January 2021 (https://ebird.org/checklist/S78540774). I had a similar encounter as you did a year or two ago in North Park, when an unfamiliar, long-tailed parakeet flew over, and my views were fleeting, but I suspect it was this species. I do not believe this species is making a foothold in San Diego just yet, given the low number and rate of reports, and I wonder if the larger flocks were all from single release(s)?

On a related psittacid note - the Red-crowned Parrot seems to have disappeared from the San Diego CBC circle, with just a few Lilac-crowned and Yellow-headed Parrots (in the vicinity of the Tijuana River Estuary NWR Visitor's Center) reported in recent years.

Refined treatment of exotic species is forthcoming from eBird.

Best,
Justyn Stahl  


On Sun, Feb 14, 2021 at 3:08 PM Philip Unitt <unitt@...> wrote:
Dear friends,

My bike ride this morning was intended as more of a history tour than birding, but while I was at the corner of 32nd St. and Clay Ave. in southeast San Diego I was surprised to see a flock of four very large parakeets come flying in. They had notably long graduated tails and a call that was gentler than the horrid shriek of the Red-masked Parakeet. They landed in a dead leafless Canary Island date palm close by, and I scrambled to get my binoculars out of my backpack. While I could see two of the birds on the palm's bare trunk I noted that the general plumage was a pretty dark dull greenish and around the eye was a teardrop or comma-shaped area of white, presumably bare skin. I thought the forehead was dull dark reddish, but in the many photos of the Burrowing Parakeet I see via a Google search the forehead never looks more than vaguely dark purplish. I couldn't see the birds' breast or underparts clearly, and after a few seconds the flock flew off to the northwest. I cruised around a few blocks that direction searching but couldn't refind it.

I have never seen the Burrowing Parakeet before but the birds' size clearly larger than the Red-masked, the long rectrices with rounded tips, the size and shape of the white around the eye, and the lack of contrasting red in the wings or tail made me think of the Burrowing Parakeet. I see it see it has been reported in this forum at least a couple of times, though not for a few years. Reports via eBird aren't visible to the public so there could be some via that medium I don't know about. These birds didn't have the pale maxilla of the Blue-crowned Parakeet, with which I'm familiar from the days when a flock patronized my Catalina cherry trees that I had planted at my old house in North Park. And they looked still larger than the Blue-crowned.

So is the Burrowing Parakeet another exotic parrot establishing itself in San Diego?

Thanks much,

Philip Unitt
San Diego