I was intrigued to learn the term for such a flock of parrots is "pandemonium," a word that the poet Milton made up to describe a gathering of demons.
I don't want to demonize Pasadena's parrots, but the description is apt. These red-crowned parrots are devilishly annoying and they can devastate fruit trees. They are also an endangered species that have found a niche here in Pasadena. They gather in flocks of hundreds and fly around the city, looking for trees (especially fruit trees), where they can roost and feed.
When the parrots "discovered" my fig tree, I knew that if I didn't take action, they would strip it of all its fruits, just as the squirrels did this spring to our apricot tree. I don't mind if critters devour 10% or even 20% of my fruit--I consider that a tax I pay to nature--but when critters become so greedy they tax me at 90% or more, my fighting spirit is aroused.
Yes, I am a fighting Quaker when it comes to defending my fruit trees.
Since this pandemonium was arriving at the same time every day, just after dawn, I slept in our front room so I could hear them (not difficult, since their squawks are deafening). I then leaped off my couch to the front porch and shooed them away with my mighty broom.
I tried netting the tree, but it's too large, so I settled on the guard dog approach. Every morning I rose at dawn and waited for them on the porch. I even slept on my yoga mat!
They don't like humans very much and they glared at me from the telephone line, waiting for me to leave so they could get back to business and raid my tree.
I decided it was time for my Ultimate Weapon. The garden hose.
I set it on jet and aimed at the parrots. By the time it reached them, it was probably no more than a gentle spray, but the shock of it scared them away.
So far, they haven't come back.
I am thinking of using a similar tactic with squirrels. A power water gun, perhaps spiked with a little hot sauce, could make the squirrels think twice before attacking my apricot tree. That approach, along with netting, will probably work.
As a Quaker, I believe in intimidation, not extermination, when it comes to greedy critters.
In case you're wondering how these red-crowned parrots came to Pasadena, here's the scoop: