Letter to the Editor: Ahhhhhh ... the joy and mystery of the wild parrots in Ocean Beach
Published - 03/21/13 - 10:25 AM | 4892 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I thoroughly enjoyed your parrot story and the wonderful photograph atop one of the lovely coral trees planted around the city. Your writer is probably too young to have heard the prevailing story for many years about the original source of the birds.

I am in my late seventies and have lived in Ocean Beach, Loma Portal and Point Loma since my family came here in 1947 from the allergy-causing, dusty, dry air of southern Arizona. Our first home was at the end of Narragansett Avenue in Ocean Beach. Two blocks away on Bacon Street was Stella’s Pet Shop, a wonder of a place for children (I was 12, my sister 9) filled with every sort of animal you could keep in a cage or pond or terrarium. and all of their needed food and housing supplies.

Each time we walked two blocks over to Newport Avenue, we would stop in or at least look in the window, although the windows were usually blocked by supplies, making it necessary to go in. Stella had filled the narrow aisles with so many items at times it was difficult to get around, particularly if there were other customers or lookers.

After I finished my education, married and had children, my children were quite as fascinated as I had been. However, Stella was also growing older, and her store was in an old building (the O.B. Historical Society probably has records of this). It was difficult for me to go in, because the aging owner was not keeping the place clean and it smelled of animal excrement.

We didn’t get to Ocean Beach frequently while we lived in Loma Portal and Point Loma in the early years of their childhood. Sometime in the 1960s or ’70s, Stella’s shop burned to the ground during the night, with all the animals reported as perishing. However, a mated pair of red-headed Mexican Amazon parrots showed up and nested in Ocean Beach shortly after the fire, and continued multiplying, the flock getting larger and larger year after year. Residents in Ocean Beach believed that this pair escaped from the fire that destroyed Stella’s. They were called the OB parrots by most of us, because that is where they first settled. Of course, it can’t be proven, but I like to believe it is true. The flocks, which have spread all over the city, now migrate to Mexico in the winter, and return here in early spring to nest and mate. Parrots have a very long life. I wonder if the original two are still around and how old they might be?

Sharon Jackson

Ocean Beach
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