Published On: Fri, Feb 7th, 2014

BACKYARD BIRDING IN MERIDA, YUCATAN AND BEYOND- PARAKEETS AND PAIR O’ KEATS: OLIVE-THROATED PARAKEET (AZTEC)

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Cherie Pittillo, “nature inspired,” zoologist, photographer, and author, explores nature everywhere she goes. She’s identified 53 bird species in her Merida, Yucatan backyard view. Her column, published on the 7th and 21st of each month, features anecdotes about birding in Merida, Yucatan and beyond. Contact: all4birdies@gmail.com  All rights reserved, © Cherie Pittillo

Olive-throated Parakeet, Aratinga nana, Perico Pecho Sucio (Spanish), X k’iili (Mayan)

Although people hear parrots squawking, screeching, or warbling in Merida and the Yucatan Peninsula, I daresay most do not know that parakeets exist here. These are not the well known “budgies” or budgerigars, native to Australia. Nor are they escaped pets. The Olive-throated Parakeet, once known as Aztec Parakeet, is a common resident here and the only parakeet on the peninsula.

Today I pair Keats’ couplets and excerpts from his poetry in quotes and with a photograph. When I changed a word within the quotes, I italicized it. A footnote references each poem and no footnote means I added life history info about the bird.

My apologies to John Keats and to you.

“I wandered in a forest thoughtlessly,

And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise,

Saw two fair creatures, flying side by side

In deepest forest, above the whisp’ring wind

Of leaves…” 1

Two Olive-throated Parakeets fly above whispering wind of leaves

Two Olive-throated Parakeets fly above whispering wind of leaves

Neon green feathers on back so bright

Whitish eye ring on left and right

Pointed tail and olive-brown throat and breast

Blue in the wing is easier to see at rest

“Blue! gentle cousin of the forest-green,
                                    Married to green in all the world 2

 

Blue flight feathers on Olive-throated Parakeet

Blue flight feathers on Olive-throated Parakeet

Common in deciduous forest, grasslands, and scrub,

Cornfields, haciendas, and ruins in their flocking club

E Mexico to W Panama with separate Jamaican cousin and all feed

On fruit, buds, grains, and many kinds of seeds

 

Slender birds about nine inches tall

Flights are noisy as each one has unique contact call,

Alight in trees and camouflage in leaves of green

Or perch on a tree top in the open to be seen

 

“With the green world they live in; and clear rills

That for themselves a cooling covert make

‘Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake” 3

 

Colors of Olive-throated Parakeets blend in with foliage or they may perch in the open.

Colors of Olive-throated Parakeets blend in with foliage or they may perch in the open.

 

http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/103345

Monogamous all year and during breeding season

Nest in arboreal termite mound with reason

Because they don’t eat or bother the termites

Nor do the termites erupt into fights

Pair of Olive-throated Parakeets after early morning rain

Pair of Olive-throated Parakeets after early morning rain

 

“But when I am consumed in the fire

Give me new phoenix wings to fly at my desire!” 4

 

Give me phoenix wings to fly to my desire (Olive-throated Parakeet)

Give me phoenix wings to fly to my desire (Olive-throated Parakeet)

 

“Beauty is Truth,–Truth Beauty,–that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” 5.

 

Olive-throated Parakeet

Olive-throated Parakeet

 

REFERENCES: 1 Ode to Psyche, 2 Answer to a Sonnet by J.H. Reynolds, 3 A Thing of Beauty Is a Joy Forever (Endymion), 4 On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again, 5 Ode on a Grecian Urn

 

A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America, Sal a Pajarear Yucatan, A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica, 100 Common Birds of the Yucatan Peninsula

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/an-extempore/

Mexico Travel Care

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