"Not with my wife, you don't!" announces this male monk parrot to an unwanted New Jersey suitor.
Among wild monk parrots living on the streets of New York City, "March Madness" has nothing to do with basketball. Instead, the season is notable among our loveable avian invaders for being one in which personal rivalries, hostility, and general boorishness temporarily overtake this ordinarily peaceful community of urban parrots
What's going on? Well, the days are lengthening, mating season is approaching, the hormones are pumping, and that gangly group of youngsters, both male and female, born in the last few years, are feeling their oats. Unfortunately, these adolescent birds have yet to learn that it's against Quaker etiquette to try to break up a lifelong pair by provacatively "stutting their wild parrot stuff," and will learn quickly enough that pair-members will defend their relationships against any gratuitious offers of parrot passion!
Sometime in the next few months, these lone youngsters will find each other and pair off, but right now, there are plenty of ruffling feathers caused by the madness of the young and single in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and New Jersey.
Sometimes the whole flock gets in on the tussling, which can result in incredible aerial battles and group squawking that you can hear for twenty five blocks.
Without further ado, here are some captioned pictures I snapped of the wild parrots of New York in the throes of March Monk Parrot Madness. Click on any picture for an enlarged view."Hey Babe," croons the confident young Bronx male monk on the left. "How about you and me fly off to City Island together?" "In your dreams, acorn breath!" she answers. In the meantime, her husband (right) is plotting a retaliatory attack.The elder and younger male (left) engage in a brief aerial skirmish as other quakers watch.Soon it's parrot pandamonium, with brothers, cousins, in-laws and neighbors battling each other. Where will all this raging fury end?Fortunately, after much display and squawking, the battle cools off. The young male has learned his lesson, and the whole flock has had a chance to engage in some symbolic combat which, I suspect, is probably enjoyable on a primitive level. After such combative displays conclude, monk parrot pairs are often observed huddling and preening together, behavior supporting the claim that such aggressive displays actually encourage pair cohesion, which is, naturally, good for the flock.
One often notices aggression among Quakers when they're foraging on the ground. The way it usually works is that one bird will get in another's face, and when one of the birds won't budge, the first one hops into the air. I still haven't figured out if it's the bird who's been hassled who jumps, or the hassler. But when these birds get feisty there's an awful lot of hopping on the grass!"Will you please leave us alone?" asks the male of this pair, which was just minding his own business until the hopping teenage parrot appeared. "Nothing doing, pops" replies the youngster.Even the normally peaceful parrots of Brooklyn have been getting into more than a few fights recently.
Parrot 1 to Parrot 2: "!#$*(%)^!!!"
Parrot 2 to Parrot 1: "*@^#$&$##+!!!!!"Mating-related fighting and aggressive displays are commonplace in March, but many birds don't buy into the mania. Note the middle-aged bird on the right, likely an important bird in the flock, whose confident expression and steady demeanor suggests he's not going to dignify any foolishly gratiuitous challenges from youngsters ranking low in the pecking order.The presence of the photographer is something that may or may not encourage aggressive displays. "There's nothing to see here, buddy" I imagine the tough-looking Brooklyn bird on the left saying. "Just move along."
Labels: Brooklyn College, Photo-Essays