The Parakeets in My Life

As many of you know, I wrote and illustrated a children’s book called “Yellow Bird”, dedicated to a wild parakeet that lived in our yard in Gaithersburg from April to mid-December, 2018. For some reason I fell in love with this bird. He would sit on the fence and look at me, turning his head from side to side, allowing me to get just so close - and then he would soar up into a tree like a streak of yellow sunlight or join a group of sparrows stretched out along one of our roof gutters. I was so fascinated with him that I gave him a name, Yellow Bird, bought him parakeet food that the squirrels ate, and added a bird bath to our front yard that we filled twice a day with cool, fresh water all summer long. When the weather got colder, we bought a bird cage that we hung from a tree, stocked it with food and water, and covered it with a big, waterproof cape-like thingy that I found at Petco. Of course nothing, not even the squirrels, went inside. I would see Yellow Bird huddled with some sparrows among the branches of a spruce in our front yard. He had managed to survive a very cold spell in early December, but then, just as the temps started to rebound, he disappeared. I saw him for the last time on December 18, 2018. I remember the date because it was our granddaughter’s 16th birthday. I had hoped he had migrated with some other flock of birds that still migrate. We waited for him the following spring, but he never returned.

As it turns out, there is also a spruce tree (or maybe it’s a cedar) on the property of the building we are living in now in Meudon. It is located just a few meters from our back terrace. We are on the top floor of a four-story building, so we have a good view of the trees, skyline, and what few stars are visible on a clear night. Yesterday we were drawn outside by some loud squawking coming from that tree. The sun was setting behind the tree, so what we saw was mostly backlit, but all that bird noise was coming from a flock of Rose Ringed Parakeets, originally from Africa and South Asia. They look more like small parrots than our domestic parakeets in the US. They are all green except the males have reddish-rose beaks. We watched them for about 20 minutes as they gathered, talked it over, and then decided to fly away. But we’ve had glimpses of them before, so we are confident they will be back. When I googled them so I would know something I could share about them, it said that they can be somewhat tamed - at least they will come onto an outdoor space if you put food out for them. I’m not sure how that would work out with the cats, so we think we will pass this time on becoming attached to any more parakeets.

A Pair of Rose Ringed Parakeets