Who's shooting the wild parrots in East County? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Who's shooting the wild parrots in East County?

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EL CAJON (CBS 8) – A wild parrot is being nursed back to health Monday after it was shot.

A flock of the noisy wild birds has been calling El Cajon home for several years, but now it appears they could be wearing out their welcome.

On December 20 in Lakeside, someone shot the Amazon parrot with a pellet gun. Brooke Durham, the founder of SoCal Parrot Rescue in Jamul, says this is the third wounded parrot rescued in the past six months.

"This bird was very lucky that he did not bleed out," she said.

Last month we told you about this flock of wild parrots living in the East County. Nearly 500 of them are roosting at night in the trees outside the El Cajon Courthouse. Every morning they leave the trees to gather food, which is what the parrot was doing when he was shot.

"This is sad. This bird may or may not ever fly again," Durham said.

Durham suspects these beautiful birds are survivors from the black market pet trade that was strong in the 80s and 90s, which is one reason why parrots are often misunderstood. A Lakeside neighbor found the wounded bird bundled into a ball in the street.

"She didn't think he was shot. She thought maybe he got hit by a car," volunteer Laura Williams said.

Williams says parrots may squawk at times and eat fruit off trees, but they don't deserve to be shot.

"They are an animal. They're naturalized here. To me they have just as much right to be here as any other animal, and hurting an animal is never OK. It's no different than shooting a person in my opinion," she said.

Durham suspects the parrot was shot by a Lakeside man who was upset the parrot was eating figs off his tree, but no one witnessed the shooting.

"Unfortunately we don't have a good way to prosecute anyone on this case, but I think also citizens should know that if this is something that is happening and they don't like it, they need to talk to their local law enforcement agencies," she said.

County Animal Control officers say shooting a bird on purpose is animal cruelty. The crime is punishable with up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

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