Although I am no longer involved with the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, bits of news and information about the flock still come to my attention. This page is devoted to posting anything new I learn that I think might be of general interest.
June 23, 2021
Around a year and a half ago there was an article in a local news outlet about the wild parrots that, while largely accurate, had a sensational headline that suggested that the wild parrot flock was dying out, which isn’t true. We got the headline changed, but the damage had already been done. I still get messages from people mourning the demise of the flock. One of the things I learned from my experiences dealing with the media is that they seldom get things totally right. They’re mostly people with a job who need to turn in a finished piece, and they don’t often sweat the details.
From the very beginning of my experience with the flock, back in 1993, I’d been seeing parrots, usually juveniles, showing up with severe neurological damage. I was entirely on my own and didn’t have the resources to determine what was causing it. While it was always dismaying to see, it wasn’t so bad that they flock’s numbers diminished. In fact, during my time with them, the flock continued to grow—from 24 in 1993 to a little over 60 in 1999. Today there are somewhere between 200 and 400 of them.
A few years ago, a parrot rescue organization, Mickaboo, took on the task of figuring out what was causing the problem and discovered that it was bromethalin, a common rat poison. How it’s getting into their system is unknown. But contrary to the impression that many people have, while a problem, the poison is not destroying the flock. They continue to live their lives in freedom in a territory that currently stretches from the north waterfront in San Francisco to Brisbane.