Down to Earth

The Parrots of El Cajon Color The Community

Despite being non-native to California, the area around the courthouse in El Cajon has been home to parrots for years

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No one is exactly sure how the parrots arrived in El Cajon, but they're here and they're beautiful.

The green-bodied, red-topped birds can often be seen flying around El Cajon or in the trees by the courthouse.

"El Cajon has a bit of a flyover from red masked Conures maybe once or twice a day," says Sarah Mansfield, Managing Director of SoCal Parrot. "But mainly there are Red-crowned Amazons and Lilac-crowned Amazons there."

Red-Crown Amazons are endangered in the wild, where their habitat once was, it no longer exists, so now this endangered species of bird calls El Cajon home, that's pretty special.

"This is one of the last places you'll see them flying freely as wild parrots," says Mansfield.

"There numbers are dwindling in Mexico, but in El Cajon, the flock of Red-crowned is between 800 and 1,000 strong."

While parrots are gorgeous to look at, their loud noises can bother some people. When asked about the type of calls SoCal Parrot receives, Mansfield says, "It's about a 75/25 split, mostly positive."

"In the last 5 to 10 years, we've seen a shift from "Ugh, the parrots" to "Oh, wow they're so cool, you'd never expect to see them here."

According to Mansfield, the best time to see the parrots in El Cajon is late September through December.

There are five established species of wild parrots in San Diego and 13 species in Southern California.

SoCal Parrot, a non-profit based in Jamul, rescues wild parrots throughout southern California that are injured or too young to survive, then when healthy, releases the parrots into the urban wild.

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