Tuesday, 6 November 2012

How can you not see a parrot?

ParrotThe squawk was very loud! From experience, I knew the parrot must be within a few metres of me but looking round through 360 degrees, a dizzying number of times, I saw nothing! Though I've been familiar with parrots from various locations for years, they have recently moved in locally. They turned up in numbers a few months ago and now regularly fly around in flocks, squawking. Even the locals, who invariably fail to notice the local fauna, have talked about them. Almost crow-sized, bright green and with a habit of flying around in noisy flocks, the Rose-ringed Parakeet is indeed difficult to miss!

Despite that, they can sometimes be difficult to spot, as my experience showed. I've recently noticed that they will sometimes cling on to vertical brickwork on the side of houses! Few bird species do that, especially the large ones! I recently saw two parrots, attached to a wall, near someone's window, calling loudly!

If this had been an anomalous phenomenon case, the witness might have reported that they'd heard a bird squawking loudly at their window but could see nothing on trees or houses nearby. Their conclusion? A ghost bird! Without the crucial information that parakeets sometimes cling to vertical walls, it would be difficult to work out the true explanation!

This is, of course, the eternal problem with investigating reports of paranormal phenomena. We only know what the witness experienced, plus anything we can deduce by examining the site. That's why we need to be in possession of relevant specialist information to solve such mysteries.

Investigators cannot be experts in every possible cause of weird experiences. But they should understand the limits of their own knowledge. Too often, investigators declare something 'unexplainable' when what they really mean is 'unexplainable by them'! There is no shame is asking for other people's help or doing background research. In this case, for instance, it would be worth talking to someone with expertise in birds before declaring the case inexplicable! It is also worth doing as I do and looking out for weird, but normal, experiences in every day life and imagining how they would look to someone who had only witnessed the puzzling part of the action. This DOES work - I've explained otherwise bizarre reports in this way! Having said that, I never DID find the parrot mentioned at the start of this post. Maybe it was hanging from a wall just round a corner!

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