Tag Archives: parrots

Parrot Legend of Los Angeles

“If you have been in Los Angeles for a little bit, eventually you notice the parrots. It’s weird because you wouldn’t think parrots live in Los Angeles but there are tons of these very loud and annoying green parrots. There are a couple different stories about why they are here, like, one of them is that these green parrots escaped from the LA Zoo and had no predators so now there are way too many. That’s the main one I heard. I think the other one I heard more recently is that they came from some guy who ordered these pet parrots and they got loose.”

Context: The informant grew up in Pasadena, California and was home from college at the University of Chicago. We were at her house and I prompted her with what reminds her of home.

Informant Analysis: “Honestly, I never thought about where the story came from, I just kind of assumed it was true. I guess, it’s like, you never really think about where the parrots came from unless they are being particularly loud.”

Collector Analysis: As the informant said, people tend to only be reminded of the legend is while they are currently being annoyed by the birds. The legend itself carries on because most people do not know the truth or falsity of the legend. Of course, it could be possible that these parrots are indigenous to this area, but most do not believe that such a tropical looking bird could be from here. I think there is actually an undertone of politics intermixed with this legend. The idea comes from the worry of invasive species and trade imports. Recently, there has been a lot of fear over Chinese imports bringing in beetles that destroy our pine trees. The parrot idea of importing this invasive species that are a nuisance may be a legend generated or propagated because of this similar fear.

Colorful Birds

While my informant grew up in Los Angeles, my informant’s family is from Yucatan, Mexico and he frequently goes down to visit his grandparents who live on a ranch.  He heard this information when he was a child visiting his grandparents. His grandfather taught him this:

“If a Colorful birds like parrots, appear in your yard, it means there is good news coming”


My informant says that he learned this after he saw a parrot in his grandparent’s backyard when he was a child.  His grandfather then told him this sign.  According to my informant, parrots are rare in the area of Yucatan where his family originates.

This is similar to another Yucatan saying where black birds are premonitions of misfortune.  It also reflects the other saying in that while black birds are common, colorful birds are very rare.  This might mean to the people who live there that trouble and misfortune are very common and good luck is rare.  This is in accordance with many areas in Mexico having high mortality and poverty rates and thus more likely to experience hardship.