Thursday, March 16, 2006

Avian Camouflage Foiled (or: Gotcha!)

The eucalyptus tree near my building serves as an apartment building of sorts for the wild parakeets that have become so much more common throughout Israel over the past several years. My tour-guide friend Dani Barkai who, together with his wife, my friend Libby, graciously puts up with my rhapsodizing about these and other birds, wild plants and every cat I’ve met since infancy, showed me a picture of these parakeets in a 1970s guidebook that describes them as “rare.” They’re not rare here anymore; they’re all over the place these days, and frankly, I’m delighted.

As I was coming home this afternoon, I heard a parakeet chirp (well, more like a screech, actually) coming from the eucalyptus tree. I decided to take a brief detour in order to see whether I could spot the parakeet. Usually that is a losing proposition: the eucalyptus tree is green all year round, and green on green just doesn’t work.

But this time it did. A man from the building next door was outside doing some work in the yard, and he showed me where the bird was: preparing a nest in the trunk of the tree. So out came the camera ...

Wild parakeet on eucalyptus tree trunk

(“Honey, move over and let me in, quick! The paparazzi’s here again!”)

... and then the flash conked out. (Technology is wonderful ... when it works.)

The same wild parakeet, slightly darker

But I still got my photos, and now that I know where the parakeets live, I plan to get more. Lots more.

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