It's cold in the Northeast, but the wild parrots of New York City, which reside happily in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, are adapting to the change in the weather. Winter is a trial for all of us, but these birds are resourceful, and will likely make it through this winter without too much trouble. I wish the same could be said for their brethren in Connecticut, but that's another story
I took these pictures on December 2, 2005 to show you a few scenes from a day in the life of a wild Brooklyn Parrot. Enjoy - please click on any thumbnail to see a larger image.
With temperatures in the 30's, you'd expect these little parrots to be staying snuggled up inside their well-insulated nests. But they're out and about, and they often perch while puffing up their feathers, like this little guy, who's serving as lookout for the parrots feeding below him.
Lookout duty isn't particularly glamorous, but it's an essential job that the oldest, most experienced birds perform, to make sure that the young ones don't get whacked by a predator. This elder bird is checking out the skies for hawks and falcons, both of which have been much in evidence recently at the Brooklyn College campus.
Brrr - that steel fence has got to be cold. But the wild parakeets of Brooklyn don't complain. After all, they're from the Southern Hemisphere, so they're used to winters. And it's a fairly balmy day in Brooklyn today: temperatures are just in the low 30's!
This shot looks like it was taken in May, not December. But the grass in Brooklyn stays green a long time, and this little one is enjoying feeding on it.
These parrots walk a lot, and because, like all parrots, they have two forward-facing and two rearward-facing toes, they tend to waddle, which gives them a comical, and slightly martial appearance when moving forward. At the risk of over-anthropomorphising them, their marching gait reminds me a bit of Alec Guinness' character in the film, Bridge on The River Kwai
These parrots, like all social creatures, sometimes have disagreements which result in some fairly loud squawking. These two are confronting each other, but from their tone it appears that a peaceful resolution to their dispute may be reached short of any ruffled feathers.
We are hungry! A load of Petco finch seed will keep these feathered Brooklynites energized for a few cold days.
We have at least three invasive species in this picture. Each of them - pigeon, starling, and parrot - was brought to America by humans and they're surviving as best they can. Only the parrots, however, have been actively persecuted by death squads such as those operating in Connecticut and Florida. These little birds are lucky to be living in New York, which is a kinder-hearted state.
Fast reflexes are necessary for survival in any urban environment. Microseconds after any loud, percussive sound, these birds are airborne.
The monks love to eat the special clover that lives in the grassy areas around the ball field, but they're also suckers for bird seed. I buy the good stuff for them, because I often suspect that I will be reincarnated as a monk parakeet in my next life (I'm still not sure if this would be a promotion or not), and I hope that someone does the same for me.
Two plush-looking quaker parakeets perch on the steel fence, as a sparrow zooms by behind them.
When I think of "Brooklyn Parrots," I think of this shot, which shows two happy pairs of monk parakeets and two loners perched on a fire escape in very cold weather. Despite the exigencies, love and life are triumphant in the most romantic of the city's boroughs.
Are these two couples hanging out on a Brooklyn fire escape arguing or joking with each other? Without knowing how to speak "Monk," it's impossible to tell, but I'd like to think that, like The Honeymooners
' Ralph, Alice, Ed, and Trixie, they're sharing a joke.
Labels: Anti-Parrot Pogroms, Brooklyn College, Connecticut Parrots, Parrot Survival, United Illuminating, Wintering