Sunday, June 25, 2006

Free MP3 File: The Ballad of the Brooklyn Parrots

Monk Parrots in the StudioThe somewhat musical Avian Invaders have been busy recording in the studio now known as "The Monk Bunker" this week. They've completed a new song, dubbed "The Ballad of the Brooklyn Parrots." Like the parrots themselves, who only stand 12 inches tall, this song is short (2:02). I also made a Shockwave presentation that shows pictures while the MP3 plays - check it out.

3/1/2008: NEW VERSION OF "Ballad of the Brooklyn Parrots" Now Available:

As of 1/1/2007, there's also a Youtube version: click on the image below and it will stream: - note this is the original version from 2006:

Update 8/20/2007: I created another ode to the parrots called "The Little Green Parrots of the Argentine." If you liked "Ballad" you'll probably like this one as well - it's embedded below.

Click here to listen to this MP3; lyrics are below:

Ballad of the Brooklyn Parrots
I've got some news for you, baby, and it might not be so good
There's an avian invader in the neighborhood
Yeah, they're little green parrots from the Argentine
They make their nests so high in the power line
It happened back in 1968
A bunch of parrots broke loose from a shipping crate
And they're all over the borough, you can see them in the air
The little green birds, that just don't care about you
Or your girlfriend on a respirator
Yeah, they're avian invaders, baby
And they're all over Brooklyn, now
Yeah, they're mighty loud, and they're mighty raucous
The scientists call them Myiopsitta Monachus
And they're all over town
You can look up and they're looking down on you
Yeah, they're little green parrots from the Argentine
They make their nests so high in the power line
And they call call them a pest
I wonder if they're hearts are true
Living on the avenue...

The Little Green Parrots of the Argentine

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Wild Parrots in New Jersey: More Photos

New Jersey's Wild Quaker Parrots
Take to the Air in Edgewater's Veterans'
Memorial Park
Edgewater, New Jersey's flock of wild Quaker Parrots represents the largest free-flying colony in the New York area. The center of the colony is located in Veterans Memorial Park. This is where you should go if you want to see them.

What are parrots doing in Edgewater? Some claim that a barge accident is to blame; others believe that the parrots may have escaped from a container the Sea-Land facility in nearby Weehawken. Others cite a closed pet store that once sold parrots in the area. I personally have spotted a wild parrot in Edgewater with a leg band, which strongly suggests that this bird came from out of state.

Quaker parrots are illegal to possess or sell in New Jersey, and are classed in the official code as a "potentially dangerous" species. They present a bother to the local utility company, PSE&G, which in the process of maintaining its electrical lines must sometimes remove nests from power-carrying poles. PSE&G works with local birdwatchers to minimize harm to the parrots.

There are many good spots to view the wild parrots of Edgewater; one of the lesser known locations is in the little park next to its City Hall building. There's a public pool there, and even during months when the pool is not in operation, the parrots often gather to take baths in water that pools in the tarp placed over the pool. Here, a family of three prepares to do some bathing.

A trio of wild NJ Quaker Prrots enjoys time at City Hall Park

Parrots, sparrows, pigeons, and starlings enjoy
using the public City Hall pool, even in winter.

There's always a lot of raucous activity
at the "Big W" tree. Here, two parrots struggle
over a particularly choice twig. The struggle seems a
bit peculiar, given that twigs aren't exactly scarce
in Edgewater. Is this a serious "Angry Birds"-
style struggle or just a fun game of tug-of-war?

Three other parrots sitting on lower branches
seem to be laughing at the way the twig-pulling
match turned out.

Edgewater's flock of wild parrots is the largest in the NYC

Monday, June 19, 2006

Monk Parrots Invading New Jersey Beaches

New Jerseyans have been "going to the
shore" on weekends since the dawn of time,
so it's only natural that on a beautiful day
in June, New Jersey's wild monk parrots would
do the same.

Last weekend, I found myself in the quiet hamlet of Edgewater, New Jersey, a place I visit on alternative weekends to broaden my parrot-watching horizons beyond Brooklyn. My first destination upon arriving by bus was Veterans' Field, a place known to be a site frequented by foraging monk parrots. After searching in vain for such parrots on the lawn areas, I settled onto a bench by the Hudson River to ponder my next move.

Suddenly, I heard remarkably parrot-like sounds emanating from the rocky beach just a few feet from my bench. I crept closer, camera armed and ready, in High-Speed Shutter mode. As the beachscape expanded in my vision, I could clearly see, among the slippery, mossy rocks, a small group of monk parrots walking on the beach, making tiny zygodactyl footprints. I began snapping pictures in quick succession, realizing that I was on the cusp of yet another significant discovery conerning the living habits of monk parrots in the New York area: just like the metropolis' human residents, in Summertime they are active beach-goers!

For a wild New Jersey parrot, this rocky
beach on the edge of Edgewater's Veterans field
offers more fun than the boardwalk in Atlantic
City. (If you really look carefully, you can
see three small green shapes on the
rocks -- they're not mossy stones, they're
monk parrots!)
It didn't take me long to see why these parrots had come to this rocky beach: for food, in the form of algea which coated the rocks, and in the seaweed which had washed up on the shore, which were both consumed continuously throughout the morning hours. The parrots seemed to find both substances delicious.

Among aviculturists, the benefits of seaweed as a nutritional supplement are well-known. Rich in minerals, seaweed is both high-protein and low fat, and contains substances which can flush toxins from the body. The benefits of algae are less well known, although at least one species of parrot, the tiny Pygmy Parrot, is an algea-eater. Less is known of the monk parrot's delight for algea, although it has been reported in UK that the parrots have been seen congregating on roof gutters containing such algea.

For those seeking to experience the surreal vision of wild parrots walking on a New Jersey beach with the spectacular island of Manhattan in the background, look no further than Edgewater's Veterans Field. Here are some photos (click on a them to see an enlarged view).

Let's see, what's on the menu today? Seaweed
or algea? Well, both!

Incoming parrots usually settle on a willow
tree before beginning their beach-walking.
Here are two which have just arrived at
"Parrot Beach."

What delights can a monk parrot hope to
find on a New Jersey beach? Well, reasonably fresh
water, delicious algae and sea vegatables,
and the chance to catch some rays!

Among wild parrot watching spots in the
Northeast, Edgewater's "Parrot Beach" is
one of the most picturesque. I shall
certainly return this summer whenever I can.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bronx Wild Quaker Parrots "Bonkers for Berries"

A wild monk parrot in the Bronx gets ready to
devour some wild berries.
I got up to the Bronx last Sunday to visit the wild parrots that live in Pelham Bay Park. It was a nice, mild day, although the overcast conditions made wild parrot photography difficult. I camped out by a berry tree and waited, and, sure enough, some parrots soon showed up.

Monk parrots are classified as "plant generalists" in terms of diet. I've seen them eat grass, weeds, acorns, leaf buds, and berries, as well as bird seed. But they seem to really like berries -- I haven't observed such gustatorial zeal since I observed them eating pizza in Brooklyn.

This monk has the look of a kid in a candy store.
Berries rule!
Feeding on calorie-rich foods such as berries is a good idea right now for the wild parrots of New York City. It's early June, which means that there are eggs in the nests, and female monks sitting on them, and the females will definitely appreciate a visit from a male monk with a belly full of berries. The male will feed the nest-bound female by regurgitating some of his food, and yes, I know the idea is kind of yuckie but it's the way that Nature works, and there are a lot of things in Nature that are yuckie but are necessary for life to keep on living.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Wild Monk Parrots Popping Up in Yacolt, WA

Monk Parrots in the StudioWhere exactly is Yacolt, Washington? What goes on there? Well, the wild Monk Parrots living in Washington State seem to have discovered Yacolt and decided to nest there, so the town must have some virtues; see Yacolt Residents Take a Liking to Wild Parrots, an item on news station KATU's website. It has been suggested that the parrots moved there from quarters formerly occupied at the Portland Airport Maintenance Building #3. If you have Windows Media Player installed on your PC, you can watch KATU's televised report by clicking on a link at KATU's site.

Struggle To Save Connecticut Wild Parrots Continues

Monk Parrots in the StudioThe monk parrot is often called "the world's most persecuted parrot," and a lot of good people on the East Coast are trying to end the persecution, including Donna Dwyer, who has done much to stop their slaughter by energy companies in Connecticut. I received this note from Donna today; it is disappointing news but just means that those who want to see a free-range parrot flying again in North American skies must work harder in the future. It also shows that the Alternative Nest Platforms built to lure the parrots from the utility poles are working:

UPDATE June 2006:

File No. 404, (Substitute House Bill No. 5804) did not make it to be called for a vote before the deadline closing of this past legislative session. Our efforts must begin again in the next legislative session. We will again be seeking passage of this legislation. We will need your support just as much and probably more in the future.

In the meantime there are ways you can help. If you have quaker nests near your property and are willing to provide possible alternative shelter for these birds on your property, helping to keep them off the poles and out of the hands of the utility company that seeks to destroy them, PLEASE contact Donna at and let us know. We have several structures ready for use.

If you have nearby or aware of quaker nest locations please contact Donna with the information. UI has been removing some more nests. We want to stay on top of what is going on in this regard. Your help is crucial. PLEASE help keep these beautiful parrots flying free here in CT. Remember the country's only native parrot, The Carolina Parakeet, was once hunted and killed to the point of extinction.

If you are able to assist with construction and/or erection of alternative bird platforms please contact us. Help of any kind is much appreciated. Maybe you can physically help build or erect, maybe you have materials to donate, maybe a truck to transport or deliver, maybe you have ideas to contribute, whatever you have to offer is important to the effort please do not hesitate to contact with whatever assistance you can. No contribution is too small, it is only through the efforts of many concerned individuals that our goal to protect the quakers will be realized.

In closing, on a positive note, there are quakers in residence in the very first platform we put up on Christmas eve (in Lordship, CT). As well as the one on Ocean Ave, in West Haven, CT. See attached photo of the Lordship Platform.

Also, NJ Audubon has agreed to SUPPORT Senate Bill 1768. This will help in the goal of getting the quakers, in the neighboring state of NJ, off the dangerous species list there. Our thanks goes out to everyone supporting NJ's quakers also.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Wild Parrots in New Jersey Need Your Help!

Monk Parrots in the StudioThe wild parrots of New Jersey live in a gregarious flock that has delighted many residents if the town of Edgewater, a borough just across the Hudson River from Manhattan's Upper West Side. But unlike their cousins in Brooklyn, the "Joisey Boids" live under a cloud created when the State of New Jersey labelled them a "Potentially Dangerous Species" back in the 1970's.

One of the Brooklyn Parrot Society's boardmembers, Alison Evans-Fragale, has fought tirelessly alongside Edgewater's civic leaders to reform the laws in NJ to take account of the fact that these wild parrots pose no danger to human health or other animal wildlife, and after much work, she got the NJ Legislature to introduce a bill, A1237, which provides the removal of the monk parrot from the "Potentially Dangerous Species" list. On Monday, May 22nd, in a bi-partisan triumph, Bill A1237 was unanimously passed by the full Assembly.

Within the next few days, Bill A1237 will go before the Senate Environmental Committee as Bill S1768 (see:

Passage of this bill is not ensured (there are those who, for reasons of their own, find it convenient to label this gentle parrot "dangerous"). So please, if you'd like to do something nice for the wild parrots of New Jersey, please communicate your support for this bill to the following New Jersey Senators, all of whom are members of the Environmental Commitee:

Senator Bob Smith, Chair
216 Stelton Road, Suite E-5, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Senator Stephen M. Sweeney, Vice-Chair
Kingsway Commons
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400, Thorofare, NJ 08086

Senator Henry P McNamara
P.O. Box 68, Wycoff, NJ 07481-0068

Senator John H. Adler
231 Route 70 East, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-2421

Senator Andrew R. Ciesla
852 Highway 70, Brick, NJ 08724