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Photo of the week: parrot on a temple

What did I see a few days ago, looking up at the familiar temple of Hephestus and Athena (aka Theseion)?

Theseus, the famous hero, looking like a pirate, with a large green parrot on his shoulder. And while the hero was locked in a life-and-death fight with the infamous bandit Sciron, the parrot, quite oblivious, munched away at some fruit held in its claw.

It seems that feral parrots have found the city’s climate and the fruit of its trees to their liking, so their numbers are multiplying by the year. One of the largest of their colonies is in the National Garden, leading some to believe that they are descendants of birds who escaped from the Garden’s small zoo. Today, they are nesting in several areas all over Athens and many other areas of Greece. My guess is that before long they will be as prominent as the city’s stray cats and dogs.

parrot on temple

Note: for those interested in such details (like yours truly), the mythical battle rages in a metope (decorated panel) on the northern side of the temple (second from the left).

Also: according to the Greek Ornithological Society, most of the feral parrots of Greece belong to the species ring-necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri, from southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa).

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