Tuesday, September 08, 2009
"THICK- BILLED PARROT BRINGS BIRDERS TO ENGLE
ENGLE, N.M. -- Wildlife watchers continue to flock to the Armendaris Ranch headquarters to view a mysterious bird temporarily living in a sparse patch of pine trees shading the sun-baked Chihuahuan desert east of Truth or Consequences.
A thick-billed parrot, Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha, residing on one of Ted Turner's New Mexico ranches has brought in viewers from both North American coasts and Canada. In all, the parrot watchers hailed from 24 states and four countries. This species, you see, is considered endangered in Mexico and has not been seen in the wild in Arizona since 1938. It was previously reported in the Animas Mountains of New Mexico in 1917 and 1919.
"Nobody knows how this bird got here," said Tom Waddell, property manager at the Armendaris. He first observed the parrot in a windbreak of Mondell pines in his yard on May 7. Theories explaining the bird's occurrence range from its being blown off course by the tornado-spawning storms that raged through Texas and Oklahoma the weekend of May 3-4, to it being an escapee from the illegal parrot trade.
Waddell believes it's a wild bird. "There's no evidence of it having been in a cage or anything," he said. "All its daily behaviors, when it eats and rests, when it goes to water, are exactly like a wild bird. And it doesn't touch commercial parrot foods, either."
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