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Happy to see them winging it

LETTERS

February 16, 2006

IT was a pleasure to read your piece about wild parrots and to have some of the mystery cleared up as to their origins ["Haven in the Asphalt Savanna," Feb. 9]. I once lived across from a tree that they were friendly with, and at the end of the day I would find them hidden beneath the foliage. The branches were loaded with birds.

GEORGE LARRIMORE

Los Angeles

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ENJOYED your article on the avian exotica. My favorites, which I observed in Pacific Palisades when I toiled in the rose gardens of the rich yet obscure -- were the black-headed parakeets. They first caught my attention by flying overhead and then landing en masse on the street about a dozen houses away.

Central Bakersfield has giant solid green parakeets. Their numbers have grown in the last few years. Here in the Oleander District, my neighborhood of old bungalows, there's plenty of fruit to keep the birds well fed year-round. Their favorite seems to be fruiting mulberry.

DANIEL NAUMAN

\o7Bakersfield\f7

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I have seen a large flock of parrots while jogging by La Puente High School. The birds hang out in the trees outside the classrooms on Nelson Avenue. While visiting relatives the last two years, I was surprised to see them, as I don't remember ever seeing parrots there while growing up.

MEL OTERO

\o7Mequon, Wis.\f7

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I enjoyed your piece on wild suburban parrots. As the owner of four cockatiels, I feel the need to sound off a bit on the subject of birds as pets, however. The thing about birds is they make terrific pets. The thing about humans is they often make lousy caretakers.

It is important to purchase birds from a reputable dealer, to learn the dietary needs of the particular species, to learn the behavioral traits before bringing the bird home (to make sure it will be compatible with your family), and to know the life span of the species. If you buy a baby with a life expectancy of 40 or 50, designate a guardian in your will. Find an avian vet and go for regular checkups.

MARTI HOOD

\o7Irvine

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