A Web Site About the Wild Parrots of Brooklyn

Quaker Parrot Facts, lore, audio files, video clips, photos, pictures, photo comics, and other information about Brooklyn's flocks of wild Quaker Parrots (AKA Monk Parakeets).

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

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Wild Parrots in New Jersey: Some Recent Photos

New Jersey's Incredible Wild Parrots Take to the Air in Edgewater's "Parrot Park."

Note: If you enjoy these photos, please check out Monk Parrots Invade New Jersey Beaches, which shows these parrots frolicking by the shore!

I'm a bit down this weekend. I had planned to do a tour of Edgewater's famous parrots on Sunday but it just didn't happen. I hope to do a tour soon and will advise you of such trips on this site. As always, these these trips will be free to the public. In lieu of conducting an actual trip, I've uploaded some previously unpublished photos I took of these charming parrots in the past few months. These pictures can't possibly substitute for seeing them in person, but they should give you a taste of the wild parrot wonders you'll see in Edgewater. (click on any photo to see an enlarged view).

A family of three wild monk parrots perches on a chainlink fence protecting Edgewater's public swimming pool
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.

Two wild quaker parrots bathe with a local English sparrow - photo 1 of 2
As mentioned, this is a public pool. Parrots, sparrows, pigeons, and starlings are welcome.

Two wild quaker parrots bathe with a local English sparrow - photo 2 of 2
A sparrow splashes merrily as two puffed-up parrots take a dip.

Two wild quaker parrots in Edgewater's Big W tree provide animated entertainment
Edgewater's "Big W" tree is one of the city's prized parrot-watching spots. Here, two parrots recreate (somewhat noisily) on a Saturday afternoon.

Two wild quaker parakeets struggle over a choice twig - photo 1 of 2
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 struggle or just a fun game of tug-of-war?

Two wild quaker parakeets struggle over a choice twig - photo 2 of 2
One parrot triumphantly seizes the twig; the other seems to say "just wait until next time, buster!"

Several other parrots witnessing the struggle over the twig seem to find it funnyThree other parrots sitting on lower branches seem to be laughing at the way the twig-pulling match turned out.

If you look very closely, you'll see that this wild parrot was once a captive parrot -- he wears a leg bandThis photo isn't too interesting, until you magnify it. This little parrot is wearing a leg band, which means he or she was born in captivity. But Monk Parrots are illegal to sell in New Jersey! So where did this bird come from? Well, probably from New York, where Monk Parrots are legal to sell(but only if they wear leg bands.) This parrot, who either escaped from or was abandoned by his human owners, clearly heard the "call of the wild" and flew across the Hudson River to rejoin his wild cousins. This little champ, a truly "feral" parrot who's reverted to his or her natural instincts, seems to fit right in with the "wild ones" of New Jersey.Six wild quaker parrots fly in tight flight formation over EdgewaterSix New Jersey wild parrots demonstrate their amazing ability to fly in close, ground-hugging formation. They remind me of the amazing acrobatic jets in the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels Demonstration Squadron.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Monk Parrots Invading New Jersey Beaches!

A gang of monk parrots frolic on a New Jersey Beach in June 2006
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!

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).

Edgewater's rocky beaches are a favorite stomping grounds for wild monk parakeets
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!)

Two wild monk parrots catch some rays on a beach in Edgewater New Jersey
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!

A beautiful weeping willow provides a good perching place for wild parrots
Incoming parrots usually settle on a willow tree before beginning their beach-walking. Here are two which have just arrived at "Parrot Beach."

Three wild monk parrots strut their stuff on Edgewater's Parrot Beach
Let's see, what's on the menu today? Sea vegatables or algea? Well, both!

Seaweed and other sea vegetables provide an excellent nutritional supplement for New Jersey's wild parrots
Seaweed is a tasty, nutritious treat for the wild monks of New Jersey, and it also has properties which can flush toxins from the body, a pretty important thing for the wild NJ parrots, who must breathe in their share of car and truck-produced pollutants on busy River Road.

Three algea and seaweed eating monks cavort near a towering Canada Goose
The parrots are often joined on the beach by resident Canada Geese, who tower over them but are completely peaceful toward them.

A gosling enjoys hanging out at the beach with the wild monk parakeets
This young gosling is experiencing her first Summer on the New Jersey shore, and seems to be enjoying herself.

Seaweed and algea are highly suitable foods for a wild parrot in New Jersey
Sometimes the beach can turn into a mob scene that seems as crowded as Whole Foods on a Saturday afternoon, as algae-eating parrots converge to take advantage of the free buffet.

After they're finished gorging on sea vegetables, the parrots simply take off with loud squawks
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 have time.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bronx Wild Parrots Bonkers for Berries

A wild monk parrot in the Bronx munches on a berry tree
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.

(Click on any photo for an enlargement).

A wild monk parakeet munches on berries in the Bronx
This monk has the look of a kid in a candy store. Berries rule!

A wild quaker parakeet munches on berries in the Bronx
Berries are just part of the joy of summer for the wild parrots of New York City.

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.

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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.

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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.


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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

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