Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Photo-Essay: Brooklyn's 8th Avenue Parrots

A wild parrot on Brooklyn's 8th Avenue soaks up some mid-February sunshine
On a chilly morning in February, a bird from the "8th Avenue Gang" soaks up some sunshine.

Brooklyn's 8th Avenue Parrots are a small but hardy crew of monks who live less than 100 yards from the Gowanas Expressway at the intersection of 8th Avenue and 72nd Street. They live in a classical pole nest built under a Con Ed transformer sited in a tiny park called Anthony Mondello Triangle.

The 8th Avenue Parrots are often active in the late morning, gathering twigs for nest construction from the trees planted along the Gowanus Expressway. But sometimes they unaccountably vanish. Often, they spend time visiting their relatives to the North based in Leif Ericson Park.

As we've documented elsewhere on this site, it's a fact that Brooklyn Parrots love pizza, so I found it less than coincidental that these parrots decided to build their nest across the street from an Italian restaurant.

How long have the 8th Avenue Parrots been on the scene? According to a friendly employee of the restaurant, "at least five years." Where did they come from? My guess is that they are a spin-off "satellite" of the main wild parrot colony in Leif Ericson Park.

Without further ado, here are some photos of the 8th Avenue Parrots taken in February, 2006. Please click on any image for an expanded view.

The pole nest on 8th Avenue in which the wild parrots live
The 8th Avenue Parrots live in a classic pole-nest chosen by the birds because of the warmth given off by its transformer. This view is looking West; the trees at the rear of this view are planted along the Gowanas Expressway.

A parrot flying with a twig in his beak
The best place to get action shots of the 8th Avenue Parrots is actually on 7th Avenue, directly below the trees used by the parrots to provide construction materials. But be very careful: cars often speed down this strip and there's no sidewalk to offer a photographer much protection.

Monk parakeet flying with twig in beak
An 8th Avenue Parrot glides into the pole nest with a good looking thorny twig in his beak.

Quaker parrot weaving twig into nest on 8th Avenue
A moment later, he's working the twig into the nest structure.

A quaker parrot glides into an 8th Avenue nest with a twig
Another bird comes in with another twig. Watching these little birds work is an inspiring experieence.

A wild parrot struggles mightily with a thorny twig on a nest construction assignment
Heave Ho!

Two monk parrots survey their workmanship on the 8th Avenue nest
Many beaks make light the work on 8th Avenue.

Two monk parrots snuggle after a long work session on 8th Avenue
But the 8th Avenue Parrots pace themselves, and are more than willing to take a short snuggle break to add variety to their long workdays.
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