IMG_8018The Peach-faced Lovebirds are back. They visit our yard every winter, arriving in group of thirty or so, and taking up accommodation in the desert willow trees behind the house.

Despite their bright coloration, we hear them before we see them.  They hide in the dense foliage of the trees, and announce their presence with their short shrill chirps.

Peach-faced LovebirdsLovebirds are not native to this area, they are from a small arid area in Africa, and have long been imported as pets. The common theory for their proliferation in the wild in the Sonoran Desert is a release (unintentional or otherwise) from a local aviary in Phoenix, AZ.

They quickly acclimated and are not dependent on handouts from people to survive in the wild. They are less shy than many of the other birds, allowing me to approach for photographic opportunities.

Peach-faced LovebirdsThey have increased their territory to New Mexico, according to some reports, but their main population seems concentrated in the Valley.  They are a nice addition to the generally earthtone birds that we see locally. They concentrate around populated residential areas.

IMG_8014Generally the introduction of an exotic species intoa new environment causes irreparable damage to the local ecosystem.  Fortunately, this does not seem to be the case with the Lovebirds. They are not encroaching on the habitat of local species, and are integrating rather nicely. This is good, since they have no natural predators in this area.

It was estimated a few years ago thatthere were hundreds in the Phoenix area, but our little enclave of thirty or so indicates to me that the population has been underestimated.

While other parrots have been released from aviaries, intentionally or otherwise, none have survived and reproduced in the wild locally. Lovebirds seem particularly acclimated to the dry desert conditions here that mimic their natural habitat.

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