Peach-faced Lovebird Range Expansion Data in Greater Phoenix, Arizona Area

01/26/2013 - UPDATED

You can report a Peach-faced Lovebird location at e-Peachface. Or, you can see the distribution of Lovebirds in Phoenix. This is a Google Maps application that let's you zoom to the correct spot and place a marker where you have seen the Lovebird.You can click on existing markers and see when they were spotted.

1999-2005 Map of Reported Peach-faced Lovebird Locations

1999-2010 Map of Reported Peach-faced Lovebird Locations

Lovebird Photo Gallery III

Lovebird Photo Gallery IV

Lovebird Photo Gallery V

Lovebird Photo Gallery VI

Lovebird Photo Gallery VII

Lovebird Photo Gallery VIII

The Peach-faced Lovebird is a very pretty small parrot native to South-western Africa. Like many caged birds, accidental releases in urban areas are common. Unlike most accidental releases, this parrot has the potential to rapidly adapt to desert habitats in Arizona. Typically, released parrots are completely dependent on food and water hand-outs from people. However, the Peach-faced Lovebird comes from a dry area in Africa. In 1998 I photographed the birds seen at the left as they investigated a woodpecker cavity in a saguaro cactus in north Scottsdale. Because of the potential of the birds to take over cavities used by native species, it is important to chart the distribution of the birds currently in the valley. Troy Corman, and this web site are collaborating to gather as much information as possible about their distribution and put it on a map (see below). If you have seen these parrots please contact us by e-mail and give us the location. If you have additional details, such as entering the attic space of a house, using a cavity in a cactus, or using a source of water in the desert, please include your observations. We need your help if we are to quickly learn the habits and distribution of this exotic species.

E m a i l:

Please type the disjointed address into your email program. This address can be read by humans, but not by web robots. This way you can reach us, but the spammers cannot! Thanks.

b i r d i n f o @ m i r r o r - p o l e . c o m

Use e-Peachface. to put your location marker on the Google Map.

We are glad that you have found your way to this web site to find out about Peach-faced Lovebirds. However, we sure want you to know that preservation of the environment is important to us, and that means we do a lot of projects that directly benefit native birds in Arizona. For example, we are always looking for more funds and volunteers to help with relocation of Burrowing Owls in the greater Phoenix area and with other projects associated with Wild At Heart. You might just have come here to find out about the Lovebirds, but please take the time to go to the Wild At Heart section on THIS WEBSITE. There are many ways you can make a real difference by contacting Wild At Heart and getting involved!

 

Peach-faced Lovebirds on saguaroSeptember 16, 2001, North Central Phoenix. This photograph was submitted by Fran Barbano. A nicely composed photo with the saguaro colors blending in with the Lovebirds.

(C) 2001 Fran Barbano

 

 

 

 

 

July 12, 2001, Tucson, Arizona - for the past year Carroll Lam, in Tucson, has been collecting information and observations and photographs about the Peach-faced Lovebirds in his neighborhood. It seems the Lovebirds have established themselves in that area also. Carroll patiently waited for breeding activity and this year he got it. Here are his photographs of the adults feeding one of the juveniles.Thank you Carroll!

Peach-faced Lovebird Juvenile Begging - Carroll Lam

Juvenile Begging for Food

Photo by Carroll Lam, Tucson Arizona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peach-faced Lovebird Feeding Juvenile - Carroll Lam

Juvenile Being Fed by Adult

Photo by Carroll Lam, Tucson, Arizona

 

 

 

 

 

Susan Davis lives in North Phoenix and has some of the Lutino versions of the birds visiting her backyard. She has both the blue and yellow versions and here is a photograph she has provided so others will know what to look for. Thank you Susan!

Yellow Lutino Peach-faced Lovebird - Susan DavisPhoto by Susan Davis, Nov 5, 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Lutino Coloration

Blue Pied / Dutch Blue in comparison with the Lovebirds that have a more reddish or "peach" color to the face. Some lutinos have the whole head very red, compared to the peach-faced color variety that has a little red on top.

Photos of Lovebirds in feeder courtesy of Rose Geiger.

 

 

 

Rose Geiger also sent this photo showing the feeder after the addition of a mirror with beads and rings and a hummingbird feeder. The Lovebirds enjoy the toys on the mirror and Rose reports that the Lovebirds push each other away from the mirror so they can all get a turn playing with them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to see the current distribution of Lovebirds in Phoenix, or if you would like to mark the map with your location where you have seen Lovebirds, you can do that at e-Peachface. This is a Google Maps application that let's you zoom to the correct spot and place a marker where you have seen the Lovebird.

More Information About Specific Site Locations and Dates

A baby Peach-faced Lovebird born in the wilds of Scottsdale and brought to Liberty Wildlife. (It was adopted by one of the volunteers and is now a pet bird).

Photo courtesy of Liberty Wildlife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


More About Peach-faced Lovebirds (from Parrots of the World by Joseph M. Forshaw

"Peach-faced Lovebirds are found in dry country from sea level up to more than 1,600 m."

"They are found in open country, but never far from water."

"Bowen (1932) found them in a palm grove a few miles north of Lobite, southern Angola. Along the Guab River, South-West Africa, MacDonald (1957) found them to be fairly common; small flocks were frequently seen going to and from an open water storage tank at the side of the dry river bed."


The information from Parrots of the World indicates that the dry wash desert habitat of Arizona is similar to that of South-western Africa. Small water ponds created for cattle grazing may provide a source of water in the desert. In agricultural areas there are many different sources of grain available and canal water is plentiful.The potential ingredients for this bird to adapt to a rural or desert habitat would seem to be in place.

Most recent information is added at the top

March 9, 2003 - Steve in Mesa, at Red Mountain Ranch, reports a few birds at his location, 8-12 near 56th Street and Main in Mesa, and a residence near that location with "several dozen" at a time. At this site they report more birds seem to come out into the open on cloudy, especially overcast, days. This is the first report of this phenomenon.

February, 2003 - The lovebirds have been seen fairly regularly at The Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, (Greenfield and Guadalupe Road). This is also the site for artificial burrows for Burrowing Owls. So, if you go to the preserve looking for parrots, be sure to check out the owls living in the burrows (this is one of my other projects, there is more information on The Burrowing Owl Project elsewhere on this website).

July 19, 2001 - Through the assistance of a friend, he has helped me identify spotting a "Peach-faced Lovebird" in my yard today. I live in Albuquerque, NM near the base of Sandia Mountain at an elevation of 6,200-ft. I've heard this bird 4 or 5 times since June but have never seen it before today. He was eating from what appears to be seeds from the yucca plant. Date of observation, July 19, 2001, time of day was 7:45-am to 8:15-am, and the temperature was 72 degrees Fahrenheit. I have attached some pictures of my observation (although they are very poor quality).Joe Dewane, New Mexico LovebirdPhoto by Joe DeWane

Joe DeWane
Albuquerque, NM

Editor note: Maybe got too hot for this bird in Phoenix and so he decided to try the high country to the East! Most likely this is an escaped pet bird from Albuquerque. The conditions (snow, ice, cold) at 6,200 ft will require that this bird be able to increase his food intake in a few months in order to survive. Thanks Joe for your information about a Lovebird outside of Arizona.

July 8, 2001 - I live near cactus/cave creek road in phoenix, and we have counted 12 of them this year, 3 years ago only 5. so we have a breeding group in our
neighborhood.

April 15, 2001 - We loved your website. We have been trying to get
information about these birds for quite some time. We
thought that they could be Mexican parrots that are supposed
to live in this area; but, we can't get much information
about them either. After reading your article, we believe
that our parrots could very well be the lovebirds that you
and others describe.

Our lovebirds:

We have had two parrots that have visited us for about two
years. They feed at our feeder of wild bird seed. At
first, we only caught glimpses of them; they were very shy.
We learned their voice and could hear them very often in the
trees around us. Sometimes they would swoop past us and all
that we would see is a blur; we knew it was them from their
chirping.

Now, they are very familiar with us. Sometimes when I am
working in the yard, they will come and sit in the mimosa
tree or the china berry tree and DEMAND that I fill the
feeder. We always talk to them and let them know that they
are welcome. They will feed at the feeder while we are
working just a few feet away from them.

However, they never stay for very long. And recently, we
hear groups of other birds in other parts of the complex (we
live in a mobile home park), so we believe that other
people have feeders out as well. It could be that they are
visiting a lot of places.

As far as water, we have a bird bath that we NEVER have seen
them drink from. What seems to attract them, though, is
when I spray the water in the trees (to cool off our yard
and build up a moisture system for the plants), they come
"running". It seems that they could be far away and know
that there is a cool, moist place to visit. I also spray
the hose into our palm tree so that all of the birds can get
the bugs that escape or find a cool roost. While sparrows
and doves are attracted to this, it is the parrots who
really seem to love it. I suspect that they are drinking
their water from the "puddles" in the palm tree.

It is odd to hear of other people in your emails that see
the lovebirds on the ground. They NEVER come onto the
ground here. It could be because we have a closed in garden
that is very narrow and cats hide in the bushes. There is
an occasional dead dove around; maybe the parrots know
better.

Description:

These two parrots are all green except the top of their head
which is peach. Their tails are turqoise. They have big
yellow beaks. I would guess that they are about six or
seven inches from head to tail. They appear to be very
healthy in appearance, voice, and flight.

Location: East Mesa

There is a canal and a water runoff area immediately to the
west of us. Other birds are attracted to that area; I don't
know if it attracts the parrots.

One morning, we were walking along, just outside
of our complex, and heard a tremendous chatter of parrots in
the palm trees on the west side. We did see a couple of
them flying, but, we don't know if they are the same ones.
It is another mobile home area with tall palms; a retirement
community mostly. I believe that there are quite a few
feeders in that area.

Woodpeckers:

We still get visited occasionally by Gila Woodpeckers. This
is neither an increase nor decrease of what we have had for
years. There were a couple of times that the woodpeckers
were on the palo verde tree and the parrots were on the
feeders. I never noticed any animosity between them.

Behavior:

The two parrots are mostly together. You can hear them
talking to each other. However, sometimes only one actually
comes to the feeder and the other stays away. One appears a
teensy bit bigger and seems a little braver.

The parrots also seem to know my car, even when I was
driving a different one for a while. They have swooped down
in front of the windshield screeching and hollering to get
my attention as I am pulling close to my driveway. It seems
to be another way to ask me to fill the feeder. I wonder if
it is when they have visited a bunch of their ususal haunts
and haven't found enough food.

The parrots never stay at the feeder for very long, choosing
instead to come and visit it in short spurts.

Interactions with other birds:

We get the same birds listed in the typical Arizona back
yard: sparrows, finches, mourning and white wing doves,
blackbirds, mockingbirds, thrashers, towhees, occasionally a
cactus wren or woodpecker, or cowbird.

When the parrots first began to visit, the other birds would
let them eat after being chased away by the parrots. Now,
the other birds have an attitude that the parrots aren't
special and have to wait their turn. The larger parrot
seems to get indignant that he isn't scaring them away
anymore and has to share the perch for the food.

Late afternoon:

Others mentioned how the lovebirds disappear in the middle
of the day. That doesn't seem true for ours. It seems that
they will come to our yard at all times of the day.
Sometimes, it is as though they have been elsewhere in the
morning (such as the other mobile home park) and then come
to our yard in the afternoon. It could be because we have a
"cool" spot that isn't readily available elsewhere in the
area.

Palm fruit and china berries:

I have never seen the parrots eating the berries on our palm
tree. However, it seems that when the fruit (the long
fronds of black balls) is ripe, the parrots sit in that tree
more. I can never see them there: I can only hear them.

I also don't know if they eat the china berries throughout
the winter as they visit that tree so often. If you ever
find out for sure that they will not eat the fruit from
these two trees, please let me know. I do not trim these
trees until I am sure that they have food elsewhere. Living
in a park, people get annoyed with me for not keeping the
trees trimmed enough. But, I don't want the birds to starve
in winter.

Odd:

It is very strange that my neighbors have never seen the
parrots. Their patio is right against my yard with very
little blockage of the view. Yet, even though they spend a
considerable amount of time on the patio, they have not yet
noticed these birds. I think it may be because the birds
blend in so much with everything else.

There was one time that I was filling the feeder and one of
the parrots was in the tree only a couple of feet from me
(close enough to touch him if I reached out). I could hear
him yelling at me to hurry. I kept telling him to be patient
and stop the screeching demands while I searched visually
through the tree. However, it took me a considerable amount
of time to actually figure out where he was. Once I saw
him, I was astounded that he was in plain view, and, yet I
had had such a difficult time finding him.

Play:

We have never seen them play as described in your other
emails. However, there is a sense of playfulness about
them. It seems that they are just enjoying the absurdity of
the day.

Saguaros and Cacti:

While there are a few assorted cacti in the complex or along
the outside border, there is not a lot of desert flora
within the areas I have described. A few lone saguaros
stand in isolated places (one of them is covered in tin foil
to keep the birds away -- how strange to plant desert
landscapes and keep away the desert birds!) If the parrots
are attracted to these, I don't know why they would pick
this area.

I would have assumed that these birds were more tropical.
Our observances are that they are attracted to more of a
rainforest type of ecosystem.

Thank you:

Thanks for your help in not only teaching us, but helping
others as well. It is refreshing to hear of such a study.
Though your research appears to be very informal, that may
be a big plus because you are gaining the participation of
the local human population that finds these birds so
fascinating. A group of 100 scientists could not gather
this kind of information in a formal study.

We hope that we have given you a little more back to help
with further research. Good luck. R. Nimmo

March 29, 2001 - From 1987-1997 I lived on the border of Apache Junction and Mesa near the intersection of Adobe and Crismon Roads. From the time we moved in, flocks
of 6-9 lovebirds were a relatively common site. In two separate years, I
saw lovebirds fledge young from nesting holes in saguaros. I remember this
because the time of fledging coincided with the fruiting of the saguaros
and I saw the adults feeding on saguaro fruit. I was curious if the
lovebirds were able to time reproduction to the fruiting of saguaros or,
alternatively, if this was simply the only time there was enough food for
them to be successful. I also saw them a couple of times at my bird
feeder, but even though I ran the feeder regularly, they did not commonly
visit it.

I have also seen flocks of lovebirds in the vicinity of Greenfield and
Sourthern in Mesa and near Greenfield and Guadalupe in Gilbert. I am sure
I have seen them other places since I am quite familiar with their call,
but I cannot remember where.

Michael Moore
Professor of Biology
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

 

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Large Colony In Mesa //////////////////////////////////////

2/6/2000 - Latest Information Received

"Donna" reported the following event that occurred in June in 1999 in Mesa. The exact location is unknown.

Hello!

My name is Donna and I live in the Phoenix area. I am a parrot
enthusiast, having bred many species and keep many as pets currently.

I have known for years that there were feral populations of lovebirds in
the area but didn't realize how many till this past summer.

I was notified that there were a large number of orphaned lovebird
babies needing immediate care. Due to the large number of them, the
rescuer was overwelmed and couldn't handle them and their care. I took
over and raised approx 25 of the 32 orphaned babies.

The story is as follows...

A rental home with a pool in East Mesa gets new tenants, they take it
upon themselves to hire a few men to remove two palm trees from the
property. After the tree tops topple to the ground, eggs and babies
fall to the ground. Most were dead, floating in the pool, laying on the
ground. The estimates are that there was a total live colony of about
25-40 birds, not including that year's chicks. The rescuer estimated 100
eggs and dead babies on the ground.

All of the rescued babies were placed in pet homes, with strict
instructions on how to prevent escapes.

I am currious as to what will be done with this data. The local Avian
community wouldn't allow them to be erradicated and some would protest
capture. Though to me capture seems to be a good alternitive. I know
when I had the babies, people from all over the country wanted one, I'm
sure that finding homes won't be difficult. Allowing them to remain as
is will only hurt native wildlife. I have NO doubt that will multiply
rapidly.

Donna

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

I obtained permission from Donna for reprinting her e-mail to us.

Donna has pictures of the rescued birds and examples of the kinds of injuries received on her web page at:

http://www.geocities.com/Rainforest/Vines/6584/azlovebirds.html

She reports that the Lovebirds that survived were placed in foster homes.

This is the first report we have had of a giant breeding colony like this. There are undoubtedly more of them. Please let us know if you find another one. This many birds could not be supported by the odd hole in a palm tree. They must be figuring out a way to make a "cavity" in the untrimmed mess that accumulates on palm trees. It would be useful to be able to document how the birds are doing this.

There is really no way to determine what the consequences are for the growth in the population of lovebirds. As of early 2000 there does not appear to be any movement of the birds into the deep desert, city life may be too comfortable. In their homeland the birds may not have the benefit of roof tiles and palm trees for homes and shelter. In addition, wild bird seed is plentiful in many back yards so this may be more than enough incentive to stay close to where people live. We can all hope that this remain so. We do not yet have any observational data about interactions between Gila Woodpeckers and Lovebirds, or between European Starlings and Lovebirds. It may be that the Lovebirds can eject starlings from their territory by force of numbers. (One exotic species running off another). It would be disheartening if Gila Woodpeckers could also be ejected by the Lovebirds, because this could affect the number and placement of cavities in saguaro cactus. It is probably unlikely that the Lovebirds can push Gila Woodpeckers completely out of an area. The Lovebirds are going to be with us for a very long time and their numbers are likely to grow enormously. The more information we can get early, the better we can predict any adverse consequences. So far there aren't any obvious adverse consequences.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

7/1/99

You write:

From Moon Valley: ".... I have
observed well over forty or fifty different birds in our neighborhood in
all color variations. I always have one or two pairs breeding in the
saguaro in my front yard. These birds are definitely establishing as a
species as I am seeeing babies all the time, and during the past three
weeks there are at least seven to ten new juveniles on the scene." ....

From 42nd St and Shea: "We have been visited by as many as four Love Birds. They visit our feeding area most mornings and evenings for the last 3 weeks. We feed
the wild birds regularly and have been hanging the honey bells in our tree for the last 2-3 weeks. The Love Birds love to set on the bells and eat. Usually in the morning and early evening. We have no idea where they are living or where they have come from. We are just enjoying them and looking for more information on the birds themselves. "

***************

I have now gotten several reports that the birds show up at feeders in the morning and at sunset. Also, other smaller exotics (Budgies) frequenting the same feeders will wait until the Lovebirds are done before moving in. (Looks like Budgies wouldn't call them Lovebirds!)

*************

New Material Added 9/7/99

From Dianne C.

Hi! I have seen 11 lovebirds at one session, however there are 8 in one
colony. I can tell because I have observed them long enough to be able
to identify most of them. But on two ocassions out of about 4 months,
another set of 3 showed up. They stayed a bit separate, in a different
tree. I was surprised they did not all join up together.
The tree nearest my feeder is a mesquite which they love. But I have
noticed that they like the tallest trees in the neighborhood when they
fly away. They like palm trees also. They love to play games. Once all
eight was swinging on my clothesline making a game out of it. The other
day three of them got on the chicken coop roof. It is tin. They would
get on the peak and slide down, then go up to the top and slide down
again. They usually play games about 10 minutes at a time. They usually
sing after they eat for about 1/2 hour. My home sounds like a jungle.
I have seen them eating something off the ground. I'm not sure if
its bugs or grass or what. We have tif grass and they sometimes pick at
something beneath an olive tree (no olives). They sometimes go in the
neighbors horse pasture and pick at something on the ground (manure?).
They prefer the honey seed bells. I keep 5 at a time hanging in a
dead tree so they can all feed at once. They love to hang upside down on
the bells. Sometimes they pick at the woodpecker food which is a hard
packed seed cake. They sometimes eat wildbird seed at the feeder and
sometimes finch food.
They normally feed about twice a day, about 6:00-10:00 am and start
again from 4pm til dark. Sometimes they hang around in the surrounding
trees during the day, but usually they go somewhere else and don't stay
nights. I think they stay in the cool during the afternoons and don't do
much.
At first, they had the upper hand, the other birds gave them room,
seemed afraid of them. Now they have to fight for their place. The other
birds that seem to act most like them and like the same things are the
starlings. I always see them hanging out with the starlings. They are
slow eaters so they come before I put out the feed and then when the
"big" flock of birds come, they watch from a nearby tree, when the action
dies down they come in and feed. They don't like the frenzy of fast
feeding that some of the other birds do.
They get water at the bird bath. I keep 5 trays of water under the
mesquite tree. Our bird feed area is desert landscaping with desert
bushes. We have a large grass area outside of that area and pastures on
either side of our property. Lots of large trees about one acre away.
The other birds in our feed area are 3 kinds of doves, towhees,
thrashers, woodpeckers, cactus wren, finch, sparrow, starlings, hummers,
mockingbirds, pigeons, sandpipers, ocassional blackbirds.
They do roost over two properties where the people have lots of fruit
trees including grapevines. They like to play in the vines along a pipe
fence and sit on the fence to sing, but I have never observed them
eating fruit there or at my feeder which I offer ocassionally.
What a shock it was the first time they came! Of course I could not
find them in my wild bird books, but I found them in a book at the
library. It is a real pleasure having them around.
I have two yellow ones, several green and all just a little
different, some with peach some almost reddish faces, and one beautiful
aqua-blue one, one has a real pale face. One has a large black spot on
his beak. Oh...and two are larger than all the rest. At first I thought
it was a mother/baby situation, then I realized there is a pair just
larger and all the birds pair off differently at times and feed and kiss
each other so who knows whether they all escaped together or if they
have raised young?
Oh. They don't want to have much to do with me. They are as wild as
any of the other birds. They always fly away while I'm putting food out.
They put at least an acre between us. It's hard to imagine that any of
these birds had ever been tame. (Not that I would want to take away
their freedom, I woudn't.)
I enjoy them tremendously. Hope this info helps. Sorry I haven't
observed them eating natural stuff, I guess they have it made here at
the feeder. I spoil them. Smile.
Dianne

********

From Joanie and Royce

Greg,
Royce said that he saw the parrots eating the Creosote flowers AND seeds on the
bushes. You might want to talk to him for more details. The mesquite pods they
are eating are the dry ones on the ground. Not the green ones. Additionally,
we have seen them in the saguaro bird holes, but not living there - just
checking out the real estate. I could be wrong about this, but I don't think
that they'd like living in the saguaro hole. They are too social and like to
have lots of neighbors/family close by. They seem to inhabit roof tiles or
spots right next to each other (like apartment living), and a saguro doesn't
really afford that type of living arrangement.
Our upstairs bedroom window has about 10 roof tiles at a 90 degree angle right
at the window's edge (or pert near). The parrots are getting used to me and the
kids looking at them at VERY close range (several feet). They stay there and
chatter at us. Pretty funny. There's at least 10 or 11 living right there
(I've counted that many at once anyway). Every one of those tiles houses at
least one parrot. Also, we have another group living outside of the master bath
window, and a 3rd group living above the front door. I just don't think they
would be happy in a catcus living solo. But we'll keep an eye out.

P.S. I did check out your website yesterday - great info, I'll have to spend a
bit more time checking it out....

Greg Replies to above e-mail:

Joanie,

Thanks for the clarification about the mesquite pods, knowing that they will eat dry pods is quite revealing. As to the holes in Saguaro, I can shed some light there. You have figured out part of the picture about cavity nesters by direct observation. Birds that flock, and prefer cavities, will "roost" in flocks at night and select sites that allow them to do this. But you cannot equate a roost nest with a breeding nest. When cavity nesters breed, some species do it in isolation, even though the rest of the year they are in a group. European Starlings are a good example of cavity nesters that flock most of the year, but select a hole in a Saguaro when it comes time to build a nest. In addition, they keep tabs on nest sites between broods. For instance, how many booods will a lovebird have in the wild in Phoenix? Do they check on a nest site between broods to insure the nest is always available? I hope this provides a new perspective for you so you can look for the different behavior associated with breeding as opposed to roosting.

Greg

Joanie provides more information:

Interesting about the roost nesting vs the breeding nest. I will watch for
that. My question now is - Do they breed all year or just certain times? I
found some dead hatchlings that had fallen out of the nest during May (maybe a
few in June, I can't remember), but I haven't seen any since. And I haven't
seen any live babies either. Let me know and I will be extra observant during
those times for signs of saguaro nesting.
Thanks Greg - for taking the time out to satisfy my curiousity on this.
Joanie

Greg asked Joanie about the dead hatchlings and whether the nests were in Saguaros or the roof of the house. Joanie replies:

Okay, the nests are in 3 locations - a row of 2nd story roof tiles on the East
side of our home. About 10-15 birds live at that location. I found 1 dead baby
under there. The 2nd location is on the north side of the house, under the 2nd
story roof tiles. This is where we are pretty sure that they have gotten into
the attic - and I can hear them moving around on that side of the ceiling. I
think about 6-7 birds live there. The 3rd location is over our front door -
about 20 feet up under the roof on a ledge. There is a support pillar that goes
from the ground to the roof and they have a nest in a small cavity between the
ledge and the outside wall of the house. I haven't gotten a ladder to check out
exactly where, but I believe it's under the tiles. Only 3 or 4 birds are
living there, and I found 2 dead babies under this nest. (On different days).

I haven't seen them living in the saguaros, only "checking out" the holes.
When they go home at night, they always hang out on the roof. So I'm sorry if I
wasn't clear on that. No birds in the cactus whatsoever. Just using them to
perch on once in awhile at this point. We were just concerned that they MIGHT
start nesting there, hence the question.

*********

Greg consulted Vera at About.com, who raises lovebirds, for information about the number of broods and the unusual number of dead hachlings found below the nest sites.

Vera Replies:

Greg,

Lovebirds can have many broods in a year. You often have to stop them from
breeding to prevent them from wearing themselves out. I generally allow
mine to double-clutch once. This means they lay the eggs, hatch them, then
at 2 weeks I pull the babies for handfeeding. Within a couple of weeks the
pair will begin laying again. Then I give them a 6 month rest. Generally
2-3 clutches a year is fine, but if they have very large clutches (6-7), I
prefer to keep it to 2 clutches a year.

In the wild I would imagine 2 a year would be common. They have to raise
the birds completely, unlike in my situation, so it takes longer, but I
would still expect them to go ahead and try for a second brood after that.

The babies falling out of the nest could be due to a number of things.
Sometimes they just don't build a secure enough nest and the babies fall
out when too many fill the space. Lovebird parents seem to "know" when a
baby is not thriving and they will often stop feeding them or push them
aside. Also, I believe in the wild they tend to focus on the older chicks
and the younger may not survive if they are too small. With 6 eggs, the
youngest will be as many as 10 days younger than the oldest--a huge size
difference. Basically the 6th baby is squashed under the more aggressive,
older siblings. This happens in aviculture as well, but breeders know to
pull the older babies for handfeeding when the 5th baby is born to prevent it.

Hope this helps!

(Vera can be reached at her web site at http:/www.parrotparrot.com and

http://birds.about.com)

Julie Writes:

Hello Greg -

A fellow "birder" gave me your website address for info on peach-face
lovebirds. I have had five adults hanging around our house in Tempe for
over a year. We're near the Broadway/Rural sighting already listed. They will eat the seed we put out for the other birds. I have also planted a large "stand" of small headed sunflowers for the goldfinches. The lovebirds like the sunflowers, too. On some mornings I've seen all five lovebirds and the five goldfinches all eating the sunflowers together. When I approach the flowers for a closer look, the lovebirds take off, but not the goldfinches.We don't have desert landscaping, so I can't comment on the lovebirds using cactus for nesting sites. I looked over the list of sightings in Tempe
and saw quite a few more in our neighborhood. It would be nice to know
where they're nesting.

Thanks for a great website!

Joanie supplies additional feeding obervational data, 9/26/99

Greg, we saw the parrots eating acacia seed pods (brown on the ground). Also,
Royce said he saw them pecking on a tumbleweed plant. I have no idea what a
tumbleweed plant is, but that's the best he could describe it.
We also noticed that a neighbor has a saguaro with a HUGE hole in it. There are
parrots living in there.
Anyway, hope this helps! I've advertised your website to friends and relatives
so they can see what the birds look like, and have gotten alot of positive
response!

***********************

Summary of e-mail as of 9/21/99

1. Peach-faced Lovebirds can raise babies in nests built in roof tiles and cracks in the house itself. We think they are also raising babies in Saguaros but we don't have proof yet.

2. The Lovebirds may be travelling in flocks in a feeding "loop" from where they roost at night, to food locations in people's yards, and then back to the roost. We do not yet know how far they will fly in the loop, but some people report that the birds are only seen at one time of the day for 2 hours, and not seen again until the next day.

3. We now know the Lovebirds are eating dry mesquite seeds and some part of the creosote yellow flowers, or the insects on the flowers. There are insects that like creosote and the birds may be eating these. This needs more investigation. Eating sunflowers means they might like other agricultural crops.

4. If you are really lucky you can watch the Lovebirds play on your tin roof slide.

5. Multiple broods per year are likely, and the number of eggs per brood can be as high as 7. This could mean a high rate of hatchlings fail to make it, but even if the average successful brood was 3, without any natural predators there will be a whole lot of Lovebirds pretty soon in the Valley!

If you have questions about Lovebirds use this e-mail address, you will have to type it in your e-mail tool manually. Take out the spaces. Using spaces defeats the robots searching for e-mail addresses for spam.

b i r d i n f o @ m i r r o r . c o m.

Copyright Greg Clark, 1999,update 2012