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An ongoing love triangle:

The Parrots of Anapoima

 By Judi McLeod  Saturday, May 23, 2009

Parrots of Anapoima, Colombian Soap OperaIf you think parrots like “The Dancing Parrot” are captivating on television, you should see them in their natural habitat. And now you can on CFP’s sister site, Bogota Free Planet (BFP)!

A love triangle, better than anything Hollywood can offer, continues in an Anapoima mandarino tree among the passionate `Paco’ `Paca’ and `Rosa’.  Together forever, Paco was the perfect hubby for Paca—until Rosa flew along.

When our BFP colleagues told us about the talking, singing parrots, including `The Romeo and Juliet of Vibrant Feathers’ who continuously call out to each other in Anapoima, we didn’t believe them.  So reporter Gabriel Quintero took a video to send us for this YouTube.

The mandarino parrot population seen and heard on the YouTube are Paco, Paca, Rosa, and confirmed bachelors Roberto and Lorenzo.  Paca would love it that Rosa, at 50, is the eldest. Lorenzo, the youngest, is a 15-year-old teenager and sometimes acts it.

On the YouTube, you can hear naughty Rosa and Paco calling out to each other.

Although, the parrots mimic the Colombians whose property includes the mandarino tree, some of their calls come at random.  Lorenzo, who often flies off to the peace and quiet of other nearby trees,  is called back with the enticement, “Lorenzo, quiere cacao?” (Lorenzo, do you want cocoa?”) 

In this paradise, Paco is Paca’s partner and Rosa the “other woman”.  It is not only Paca who can attest to Rosa’s loose morals.

These birds know all the cuss words, and be counted upon to remember them whenever company is invited for dinner when they are more apt to shout out: “Abra la puerta, hijueputa!” (“Close the door, son of a b&*ch!” anytime they spot an open door.

Quintero doing his best to record them from under the mandarino tree, was startled to hear them belting out,  the main refrain of the song, “Cucurrucucu Paloma!”

Talking and singing parrots are common in Anapoima, about a two hour’s drive southwest of the capitol of Bogota.  They’re a common sight in many parts of Colombia. In fact, as Quintero jokingly points out, “They’re only a novelty to you folks in North America.”

Quintero reports that the only time Paco and amigos are quiet is when they are taken in for the night, where they spend the dark hours in a cage.  “This is for their own safety when predators prowl,” he said.  Wild dogs, cats and the runcho, very close to the North American rat are parrot predators.  Human thieves, working under the cover of darkness are also known to steal parrots in order to sell them for profit.

Scientists have discovered that parrots dance to music, even speeding up or slowing down, according to the beat.  There are apparently, too many Fred Astaires and Ginger Rogers’ to count in the parrot world.

But Paco and friends are the only parrots who do a rousing rendition of “Cucurrucu Paloma” and Bogota promises CFP a recording to post!

God’s birds wake us up every day with their birdsong at dawn everywhere on earth and return to their nests at dusk.

But entertaining people is only a sideline for parrots and cockatoos who even save lives, like the one who recently saved a toddler from choking to death by warning her babysitter in the bathroom, shouting loudly: “Baby!” “Baby!”

Viewers have seen trainers with their birds on national television shows.

But to better understand the remarkable intelligence of parrots, has only to see and hear them in their natural habitat.

Foreign visitors to early morning Colombian gardens keep hearing voices when no one is there.

One recent guest thought the garden was haunted!

We don’t know who will win Paco’s attention in the end, but in beautiful Anapoima,  Paco and friends go on living life and being downright lovable!



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Judi McLeod  Bio
Judi McLeod Most recent columns

Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. A former Toronto Sun columnist, she also worked for the Kingston Whig Standard. Her work has appeared on Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, and Glenn Beck.

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