Monday, February 28, 2011

The Parrot of Da'an Park

With the recent warm, sunny weather, I figured it was timely to write a post about Da'an Park, as half of Taipei seems to be hanging out there over the long weekend (the other half is either on Yangmingshan or "sleeping and watching TV" as always).

If you hang out around the amphitheater, the one about halfway up the park on the Xinsheng side, you might notice a bright green bird flitting around and cawing.

You're not hallucinating: it is in fact a green, red-beaked parrot (or parakeet - it's hard to tell: the coloring is more similar to a parakeet, but green parrots do exist, and the size is more akin to a young parrot).

Are parrots local to Taipei? Uh, no.

I can't find any information on a native, even an accidental, population of parrots in Taipei (or Taiwan). There are several feral populations worldwide - there's one in San Francisco - formed from escaped parrots - and it's fairly clear that this little fella is an escapee and has settled in Da'an Park as being the most tree-dense part of the city. Polly got out of his cage, didn't he?

What with all the people who see him digging into their picnic bags to throw him crackers and crumbs, he seems alright for food now, and summer is coming. I just hope he makes it through next winter.

On a slightly different note, Da'an Park is great for seeing all sorts of still-captured species:

Of course the park abounds with dogs of all sizes being taken out to play (apparently they're starting to enforce leash laws, though - a woman with a huge fluffy white mound of dog was getting a citation as we arrived), but you'd be a fool to miss the cats and rabbits, not to mention the occasional guinea pig, ferret, large lizard or flying squirrel on a tiny chain.

These fuzzballs were born and raised housecats, and this was their first foray outside. You can see that they're, uh, taking it pretty well.

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