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      The Nature Report: Backyard Parrots

      Red-lored parrot

      Sometimes you just don TMt have to go any farther than your own backyard to enjoy some of the most beautiful birds the Rio Grande Valley has to offer. I TMve got an old wooden feeder in my backyard that has been around for years, and lately the weathered platform has become a popular gathering spot for a variety of colorful parrots. The yellow-headed parrots were the first to show up last year, and since then a stunning pair of red-lored parrots have also been visiting.

      The yellow-headed and red-lored are both native to northeastern Mexico.

      These birds could possibly have wandered north across the Rio Grande, but it is more likely that they are escapees from captivity. Red-crowned parrots are becoming quite common, and are considered to be native to deep South Texas.

      While sunflower seeds are their mainstay, the backyard parrots also enjoy munching on peanuts which they adroitly grasp with their feet and then crack open with strong beaks. In between visits from the exotic parrots, the feeder is home to dozens of white-wings and several squirrels.

      A pair of chachalacas also come regularly, but as this pair enjoy a leisurely afternoon snack they are suddenly interrupted when a red-crowned parrot lands. The parrot snatches a peanut and begins cracking it open, but before the parrot gets the peanut eaten another red crown arrives|and this one brings attitude as he chases the chachalacas away. By late afternoon it can get a little crowded at the feeder, and with the peanuts almost gone the red-crowned parrots concentrate on finishing off the remaining sunflower seeds before flying off to roost for the night.