Photo Essay: The Big Flock
Wild parrots, wheeling in the sky, catch the sun in Edgewater, New Jersey, December 3rd, 2006. (Click on any photo for an enlarged view)
As you probably know, I'm partial to the wild parrots that live in Brooklyn, because they are the direct descendants of the original psitticine escapees that audaciously claimed freedom by busting out of Kennedy Airport in the 1960's. But I'm also a big fan of the wild parrots which live in New Jersey, and I'm consistently amazed whenever I'm out there, because New Jersey hosts what is most likely the biggest flock of wild parrots in the whole Northeast.
How big? Well, I counted at least 75 parrots flocking, and I'm sure there were more in the general vicinity. I mean, at times these parrots filled the whole sky (and you should have heard the shrieks: it sounded like a world ending (or beginning)!
New Jersey's wild parrots like to hang out "on the waterfront." In this photo, at least 70 parrots forage just yards from the mighty Hudson River.
Sometimes, you'll find so many parrots settling in a small tree that the tree seems to bend over.
Unlike their Brooklyn cousins, New Jersey's wild parrots like to build nests in trees. At least seven nests are visible here, in Edgewater's "Parrot Park."
"The Big Flock," is always in a constant state of commotion. Hawks nesting in the Palisades like to prey on the parrots, making quick reflexes and good communication essential for survival.
When the Big Flock takes off, you're likely to forget that you're in the Garden State, and fantasize that you're standing in an exotic parrot-laden rainforest in South America.
The Big Flock flies high, fast, and with breathtaking precision. They have to maintain a high degree of group cohesion in order to drive off the birds of prey which go after them.
Graceful in flight, statuesque, and speedy, the wild Quaker Parrots of New Jersey are certainly one of the weirdest, most wonderful wildlife spectacles you'll ever experience in the Garden State.
If you're interested in learning more about New Jersey's magnificent wild parrots, I have more info and photos on them in the following articles:
Monk Parrots Invading New Jersey Beaches(June 2006)
Wild Parrots in New Jersey: Some Recent Photos (June 2006)
Wild Parrots on the Hudson (April 2005)
To learn more about events in Edgewater, check out EdgewaterParrots.com, run by Alison Evans-Fragale, and 07020.com, run by Mike Trachtenberg.