Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Friday, November 29, 2002

    The parrots have returned! Every year around this time, we get flocks of little green parrots passing through - migrating possibly, or maybe they're just on some sort of social circuit. This morning as I pulled into my parking spot I saw a whole flock of them land on one of the eucalyptus trees that grows outside the parking structure. The trees flower and produce seed pods this time of year, and the birds seem to like the seeds.

    These birds are quite small for parrots; they may be descendants of escaped parakeets or budgies, I don't know. But they're pretty green birds with red caps on their heads; they used their beaks as grips as well as their feet to move around the branches. The tree was literally dripping with birds as they fluttered from branch to branch or slid off a too-small twig trying to get to the seeds. They're loud, too. They chattered away as bird after bird (late arrivals to the feast) flew into the tree trying to get in on the action.

    Finally the whole flock burst out of the tree in an instant, off to South America perhaps, or just trying to find another meal in a tree. I headed downstairs to the ground level to walk over to my office, and as I stepped outside, I saw the ground covered with red seed pods jettisoned by the parrots. I felt that I had been transported to a tropical, exotic location instead of midtown Los Angeles - for about fifteen seconds. Still, that's a pretty good feeling for a weekday.



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