Wild parrots of San Francisco spread to the 'burbs

February 28, 2012 - 6:55 PM
Parrots Suburban Flight

In this photo from Feb. 21, 2012, parrots stop for some seed and apple at the home of Joe Sulley in Brisbane, Calif. The famous wild parrots of San Francisco's Telegraph Hill have joined the flight to the suburbs. About a 100 or so of the green birds have been spotted on the slopes of San Bruno Mountain in Brisbane, a small city about 10 miles south of San Francisco. (AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Brant Ward)

BRISBANE, California (AP) — The famous wild parrots of San Francisco's Telegraph Hill have spread their wings to the suburbs.

About a hundred of the green birds have been spotted on the slopes of San Bruno Mountain in Brisbane, a city about 10 miles south of San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/z6Xnt1).

The birds probably migrated there in search of food, said Mark Bittner, author of the best-selling book, "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill." The book and a documentary of the same name several years ago helped make the birds a tourist draw in San Francisco.

The playful birds — native to South America — with their cherry-colored heads are known to dart acrobatically and chirp at high decibels.

A flock of about 100 can be found around the northern edge of San Francisco, where the first of their kind likely escaped from a pet importer and then adapted to the city's chill and fog and the presence of humans.

"They're fun. They make people laugh," Bittner told the Chronicle. "And don't worry, they never scream at night."

The birds in Brisbane — some of which likely circulate back to San Francisco — have been spotted eating juniper and hawthorn berries. They were first seen about three years ago.

Danette Davis said she was in her house one day when she heard a loud commotion that prompted her dog to start barking.

"I went out and saw something green on the wire," she told the Chronicle. "I thought, 'Oh my God, it's a parrot.'"

The parrots have taken such a liking to resident Joe Sulley, he said they occasionally perch on him during visits to his back deck.

"Parrots on my head? It's fabulous," he said.

___

Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com