[Tweeters] Status of the Conures - (Parrots) at Seward

Stewart Wechsler ecostewart at quidnunc.net
Mon Mar 23 12:46:13 PDT 2009

I'm not at Seward that often this year, but, if I remember correctly the most Conures (genus Aratinga) I saw at Seward at a time last year (or was it the year before?) was 2 or 3. That is down from about 20 or 30 maybe 30 years ago. (They are long lived, so it is concievable that these birds were the same individuals I saw decades ago. 50 year old individuals may be possible. Parrot Family - Psittacidae members are generally social and long-lived for the same reason we are. They are intelligent and pass on information to new flock members, even if they may no longer be breeding.) I'm not even sure if there are any left. I never got a good record of any breeding success, but had a report or 2 of suspected young from a while ago. If I remember correctly, the species was never confidently determined. It was between Aratinga mitrata - Mitred Conure, A. wagleri - Wagler's Conure and a third Aratinga/ Conure species, all of them all green, South (or Central?) American species with pointy tails, a red forehead spot and maybe 12 - 14" long. The best place to observe them used to on the large snagged Dougfir between the loop road and the main inner loop parking lot (up into the park the first right before the 2 way road splits into a one-way loop). I would be interested if they are still being heard and seen there. I think the former flock may be on its way out - better in my thinking than an expanding flock of alien Psittacids (Parrot family members) that displace native organisms.

The flock historically usually wintered in the north end of Seattle / South Shoreline and summered in and around Seward Park - a reverse migration, from a species that may live in the southern hemisphere.


Stewart Wechsler
-Ecological Consultant - Nature Guide
Naturalist - Botanist
West Seattle
206 932-7225
ecostewart at quidnunc.net
-Advice on the most site-appropriate native plants to maximize the site's potential for native biodiversity
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----- Original Message --From: Stephen Graham
To: josh at blarg.net ; tweeters at u.washington.edu
Cc: yardbirdrace at yahoo.com
Sent: Monday, March 23, 2009 9:11 AM
Subject: RE: [Tweeters] Almost a new yard bird today: Parrots!

Hi there,
could it be the conures or are you talking about something bigger?

From animaltourism.com (birdweb.org seems to have removed their conure entry - database error? oversight?)

Seattle's Seward Park has a colony of Chapman's mitred conure and scarlet-fronted conures, according to the Friends of Seward Park. The birds roost on north bluff of Pinoy Hill, but can be found in the Maple Leaf neighborhood in winter.

Steve Graham
Greenlake, Seattle
amdamgraham at msn.com

> From: josh at blarg.net
> Date: Sat, 21 Mar 2009 22:43:08 -0700
> CC: yardbirdrace at yahoo.com
> Subject: [Tweeters] Almost a new yard bird today: Parrots!
> I was taking out the compost this afternoon around 4:30, and I heard a
> strange squawky, squeaky, "wheedle-wheekie wheedle" kind of call coming
> toward my yard, and before I could grab my binocs, a pair of large parrots
> flew by. They beat their way south and turned gently eastward, angling off
> toward Maple Leaf.
> All I could tell was that they were about Amazon size, with pale bellies,
> but beyond that I can't say. Gotta think that I couldn't have counted them
> even if I HAD ID'ed them down to species! Still, it was a strange flashback
> to our November trip to Costa Rica, where parrot overflights were a common
> event.
> (Damn, I gotta get my bird list together from that trip and post it!)
> So, if you're in the North end, keep your eyes open for what appears to be a
> pair of large parrots.
> -Josh (josh at blarg dot net)
> There is great chaos under heaven, and the situation is excellent. - Mao-Tse
> Tung
> _______________________________________________
> Tweeters mailing list
> Tweeters at u.washington.edu
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