Avian Expert Articles

Red-Crowned Amazon Parrots Thrive in Los Angeles

Survival is a broad spectrum concept that occupies the minds of many. It’s found in our daily worries like matters of politics, finances, personal health, social status, and mental stability. Needless to say, it likely crosses someone’s mind at least once a day. But survival isn’t an exclusive part of the human kingdom. Survival is also found throughout nature. There are uncountable studies and realizations of survival as it sweeps through the kingdoms of animals, plants, and even our microscopic but vast world of microorganisms. Humans spend a large amount of time and energy developing extraordinary plans to avoid the threats of extinction even though we may never understand the eventual results of such plans. Survival is that important to us.

In the world of animals, many scientists are striving to help preserve the rapidly diminishing populations of endangered creatures. Far too many animals have already disappeared from our planet never to be seen again. Biologists have investigated and developed detailed plans. These plans are formulated to help ease the threat of any extinction. They are crafted to give disappearing animals a decent fighting chance to overcome the challenges of a fast-changing world that often does not consider the destruction of necessary habitats. In the world of birds, many of our beautiful exotic birds have become endangered to the point of probable extinction. In 2018 alone, some have gone forever from us.

 At Home in LA

Conservation ecologists at UCLA have discovered a healthy increase of the red-crowned parrot. This bird is native to Mexico and is considered to be endangered there with an estimated population of 1,000-2,000 birds. However, in Los Angeles a population of feral red-crowned parrots estimated at between 2,000-3,000 is actually considered to be growing. With a habitat as far away in kind as that of their familiar Mexico habitats, these non-native birds don’t seem to mind. They’ve adapted and seem to proliferate as a result. But California is not the only place these birds have adopted as home. Some of these beautiful and determined birds have also been found in Florida and in Texas.

The ecological scientists at UCLA have created a project called Urban Ark with the realization that there’s something about the urban locale that effectively encourages these birds to adapt and to thrive. In their project, they are working to encourage the introduction of other endangered bird species into the cities hoping that newly introduced birds can rediscover a purpose to exist and to thrive, much like the Red-crowned Parrot has.

There are nay-sayers to the Urban Ark concept. In every situation, sometimes the proliferation of a species can bring new and unsuspected havoc upon the native ecological balance in place. For instance, the Northern Pike, a predator fish often found in the freshwater lakes of the northern regions of the United States, and Canada, had been maliciously introduced into a California lake. The Northern Pike proceeded to rapidly decimate the lake’s inhabitants of natural fish, as is its nature. Efforts were eventually successful in eradicating the fish thus restoring the lake’s original balance. This is but one warning against the introduction of non-native species into a strange ecology.

A Blueprint for Conservation

Regardless, the concept of preservation is a noble one and needs to be fully researched. If it works well for the red-crowned parrot, it could help preserve the unnatural decline of some of our other species. Of course, animals and birds are not the only living things that could be helped by an “Urban Ark” design.  There are also plants, fish, and every manner of species in decline. Some of them can be given new opportunity, particularly if they pose no threat to the carefully engineered ecology of the region. The valid argument is that a city itself is a created habitat. It then becomes home to a varied collection of people, who require a varied collection of interests. With that argument, it makes sense that life of all kinds can be made to exist in a region designed to encourage just that. They only have to be able to properly co-exist.

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