Monk Parakeets Thank Me

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Austin, United States

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As I was walking, it was a surprise when I heard a group of about four Monk Parakeets screaming bloody murder….and in fact, that’s what it was about to be…bloody murder…but I didn’t understand at first. I saw them fly from a tree across the street, where a large hawk was circling. In retrospect, I realized their screams and their approach were intended to divert the hawk from their very close nest. He saw them and dove at one, looking for lunch, but the bird was too quick and the larger hawk missed. The little group dodged and circled, and when the hawk seemed about to return toward their nest, they very literally attacked him! When he turned back to them, they flew away from him again.

Meanwhile, I was down on the ground observing this, and an involuntary, “OH NO!” escaped me. I dove for my camera, intending to help the birds and make a spectacular capture as well of the hawk and the parakeets at war. But the hawk, being a local one, was aware of me and my camera and quickly distanced himself. I missed that shot, but kept the camera on him, knowing if I didn’t, he’d return to the nest and grab a little green Monk Parakeet. He did indeed seek to turn back towards the nest, but would see the camera and go a bit further away. Finally, he disappeared.

I put my camera back up and began walking back towards my apartment when I heard the birds chattering and flying along. There must have been ten birds who flew to a nearby tree kind of waiting for me to go by. They NEVER do that! It was clearly a thank you. I was very impressed with this. They always hide away, but this time, this group came out to stand there and see me off. I was delighted with this wonderful moment.

It was cruel of me to turn my camera on them, and I should not have done it, but I did explain first that it was just a camera. Nevertheless, they weren’t very happy with this, but they allowed it. So I only snapped a few quick captures. This one was the best. Anyway, you can see one of them closed his eyes! I didn’t overdo it, just snapped a few shots, didn’t take the whole group. But I think they did understand. And I guess they’ll be hiding again….

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