Sunday, September 28, 2008

Becoming Wild

A peach-faced lovebird snacks on mesquite at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve.

If you're out for a walk and you spot a glimmer of green in the trees, look a bit more closely.

You might have just spotted a peach-faced lovebird - a pint-sized parrot native to southwestern Africa.

So what is a parrot doing in Arizona?

Lovebirds have managed to do what few other escaped exotic pets have done. They've managed to survive and reproduce in the harsh desert climate of southern Arizona.

While some species of parrots have managed to thrive in urban areas of Florida, California, and Texas, the dry Phoenix climate precludes the survival of most escaped birds. Lovebirds have managed to survive because their native climate is also dry.