Every morning, Seth Watkins lays peanuts in his driveway on Arbor Road to feed the neighboring crows and jays. Tuesday, Sept. 15, at around 9:15 a.m., he noticed something wasn't right. He couldn't see any crows, but he did heard a loud squawking sound.
He looked up to see what was making the noise.
"That's when I saw the birds," he said.
A flock of five parrots, which Mr. Watkins later identified as cherry-headed conures, flew about 30 feet over his head head.
Later that evening, a raucous flock of six to 10 wild parrots was again reported in Menlo Park, this time outside of Trader Joe's. Shoppers and birdwatchers alike took in the sight, including Redwood City resident and lifelong birdwatcher Paul Carroll, who knew a sighting of these wild nonnative birds was unusual. He dove into some research.
According to Mr. Carroll, the birds likely came from one of the two known nearby colonies of wild parrots that roost in San Francisco or Sunnyvale. The San Francisco flock was the subject of a 2003 documentary titled, "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill," and the Sunnyvale colony has been documented in the area since 2008.
However, he found no indication that anyone had ever seen these birds in the wild in Menlo Park before.
While he is confident the birds he saw were parrots, Mr. Carroll believed that the birds may have been a species called mitred parakeets. Both cherry-headed conures and mitred parakeets are known by signature splashes of red on their faces.
"Maybe they were checking out Menlo Park as a place to live," he said.
Mr. Watkins echoed Mr. Carroll's enthusiasm for the new avian visitors.
"Now that we have wild parrots in Menlo Park, I'd like to see some emus!" he said.
Unfortunately, neither birdwatcher was able to get any pictures. If any of our readers spot the birds and take pictures, be sure to email two or three to the Almanac at editor@AlmanacNews.com