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About the California Parrot Project

The California Parrot Project is a scientific organization whose purpose is to monitor, document and research aspects related to wild parrot populations in California.

Established in 1994 by Kimball L. Garrett, Ornithology Collections Manager at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Kimball's initial objective was to conduct a five-year study to determine the prevalence of parrots in Southern California. In 1995, while a student at California State University at Long Beach, Karen Mabb joined the project and began collecting more intensive data on roosting and nesting behavior of the parrots found in the San Gabriel Valley. After having worked independently on the Rose-ringed Parakeets of Bakersfield since 1998, Alison Sheehey also joined the project.

Since then, the individual expertise of Larry Allen, Walter Piper, Mike Bowles and Loretta Erickson have added to a project whose field of research continues to grow. We invite you to learn more about those whose individual dedication has greatly contributed to The California Parrot Project.


Renowned Ornithologist, Kimball Garrett has been the Ornithology Collections Manager at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County since 1982. He is the co-author (with Jon Dunn) of "Birds of Southern California: Status and Distribution" and has been interested in parrot populations in the region since the early 1980s. In addition to his many credits, Kimball is also a member of Western Field Ornithologists -- California Birds Records Committee.

Karen Mabb, M.S., Biological Sciences, is the heart of the California Parrot Project. Her dedicated research; compilation and analysis of data spanning more than a decade has lead to a comprehensive understanding of wild parrot populations in California. In 2003, Karen published her Masters Thesis on Naturalized Parrot Roost Flock Characteristics and Habitat Utilization in a Suburban Area of Los Angeles County.  

Alison Sheehey, B.S., Biology (Environmental Emphasis), has been working independently on the Rose-ringed Parakeet flock of Bakersfield since 1998. Alison is dedicated to protecting natural communities wherever they exist. She is involved in many scientific and educational programs, promoting environmental appreciation and ethics. Alison's extensive website on Kern County may be visited at She is the volunteer webmaster for many nature related sites.


Larry Allen is Project Coordinator and primary author of the Los Angeles Breeding Bird Atlas. Larry has done extensive work on the status and distribution of all the birds in Los Angeles. He conducts annual gull workshops for Los Angeles Audubon Society and the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival. Larry's research interests include gulls, psittacids, and desert birds.

  Walter Piper is an Associate Professor in Biological Sciences at Chapman University and is interested in behavioral and population ecology of birds. His main project, at present, concerns territorial behavior of
common loons in northern Wisconsin. During his spare time, Walter monitors wild parrot populations in Orange County. He is interested in studying their movements and the extent of hybridization found locally.
Naturalists/Photographers, Mike Bowles & Loretta Erickson, have been working independently since 2001 monitoring and photographing wild parrots. In 2003, they began more extensive research and joined the California Parrot Project in early 2004. As well as photographing and documenting their frequent observations, they are also studying individual birds among the flocks. Their photographs of some of California's wild parrots can be seen at  

Parrot photo at the top of this page © Bowles/Erickson |

In affiliation with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and
in cooperation with the Pasadena Audubon Society

© 2000 - 2010 California Parrot Project. All rights reserved.