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).

Monday, November 27, 2006

Breaking News: Wild Parrots on Manhattan's Upper West Side Delighting Local Birders

Wild Parrots on the Upper West Side? Incredible but true!
Myiopsitta Monachus, the world's most persecuted parrot, is seeking to make a home for itself on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Rumors of the parrot's reappearance in Manhattan have been circulating for months (the last known nesting pair was wiped out by the attacks of 9/11/2001). During the summer of 2006, mysterious blue-green shapes were seen darting around the 79th Street Boat Basin. During the late fall, a volunteer at Riverside Park reported unusual "parrot-like" sounds in the trees. Last week, a nest at 103rd Street and Amsterdam was discovered by birder Rebekah Creshkoff and the news was posted on, a prominent Manhattan bird blog. Last Saturday, more photos were posted by This weekend, noted birder Donna Browne got some spectacular close-ups of the 103rd Street Quakers, and Deborah Alperin, a Quaker Parrot partisan, reported that at least one wild parrot was seen in the middle of Broadway, just across the street from Zabar's (it is a well documented fact that these parrots have a weakness for bagels) as well as pizza.

Where did these parrots come from? Did they fly all the way from Brooklyn? Did they cross the river from New Jersey? Or did they somehow manage to escape from captivity (Quakers are raised in quantity in certain areas of Manhattan, expecially in Washington Heights)? The last possibility cannot be ruled out: Donna Browne's photos show what appears to be one bird wearing a leg band.

I'll be following this story with great interest, but fear not, fellow Brooklynites: my main focus will continue to be "the boids of Brooklyn." We've got lots of new photo-essays and stories in the works: there was a whole lot of action last weekend in the Borough of Kings and much news to report about the bizarre antics of our wild psitticine denizens.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

"I'll Take Manhattan" (Wild Parrots on the Upper West Side)

A pair of Quaker Parrots perches on a fire escape on 103rd Street
A pair of wild Quaker Parrots is nesting on the Upper West Side. These would be the first wild parrots to "take Manhattan" in a long time.

As first reported on Marie Winn's Web site, a pair of wild Quaker Parrots is now nesting on the Upper West Side at 103rd and Amsterdam Avenue. When heard the news on Saturday, it immediately dispatched a team of Wild Parrot Paparrazi to get some photos.

We are pleased to hear that the parrots are back on Manhattan Island. The last known pair of wild parrots, nesting at Trinity Church, was wiped out in the attacks of 9/11/2001. But we are also troubled. 103rd and Amsterdam is a fairly tough block (for humans as well as birds), and we don't know what the apartment owner/renter is going to do once he/she finds out that there are wild parrots in the vicinity. We are told by a knowledgeable source in the neighborhood that the landlord of the building is "a nice guy" but we know nothing about the tenant. Let's hope for the best. If these pair weather the winter, and a baby is the fruit of their union, we'll have the first wild parrot born in the wilds of Manhattan in many years.

A close up of the wild quaker parrot nest on 104th and Amsterdam
There are no above-ground power lines or (to my knowledge) stadium floodlight arrays in Manhattan, so wild Quaker Parrots must use the space under air conditioners for their nests. This nest is on the 6th Floor.

The male Quaker Parrot (with a stick in his beak) has harvested this nest material from a small park in a housing project just to the east of the apartment building.

It will be very interesting to see whether these adventerous parrots survive. Frankly, I am doubtful of their odds. The skies over Manhattan are largely controlled by ravenous predators (such as the hawks which Marie Winn discusses on her site) the streets are crowded with ground-based predators such as dogs, and many people are bird-phobic (landlords regularly poison pigeons in Manhattan).

We're not saying that you have to be a predator to actually enjoy living in Manhattan, but hey -- it sure helps. Still, we should give these brave parrots a hand: if anybody can take Manhattan, the gutsy Quaker Parrots can.

Thanks to Peggy M., of Brooklyn, for tipping me about this exciting development.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Photo-Essay: Brooklyn's Sandlot Parrots

Two wild quaker parrots groom each other at a Brooklyn sandlot baseball field
Two "Sandlot Boids" enjoy some grooming (male on left, female on right) at the ballfield.

Brooklyn has always loved baseball, and its sandlot baseball fields are legendary places where, on any Saturday and Sunday during the Spring and Summer, you can witness some unforgettable, unorganized ball. In November, the sandlot fields are quiet and almost melencholy places, unless you happen to notice the Quaker Parrots cheerfully strutting their wild parrot stuff. The parrots love the sandy grit of the fields, which helps them digest.

Nice uniforms, boys and girls!

(Note: I'd tell you exactly where this sandlot is but I don't want to tip off any poachers. E-mail me privately if you want further details.)

Three wild Quaker Parrots strutting their stuff on a Brooklyn sandlot baseball field
All, the joys of a Brooklyn sandlot baseball field in November! What's to enjoy? Well, parrots need a bit of "grit" to digest their food, and the sandlot has plenty of sandy grit to help them out.

A wild Quaker Parrot in Brooklyn munches on something tasty at a sandlot baseball field
By my count, the parrots at this particular sandlot number number five nesting pairs. This parrot, whose feathers look particularly fresh, appears to be a recent arrival (some of the other parrots look downright grungy by comparison, a fact that's not particularly strange, given the number of smoke-belching diesel trucks which pass by within a few yards of their nests.

A watchful Quaker Parrot Sentinel guards his fellows marching on a Brooklyn sandlot baseball field
As always, a watchful parrot is on "guard duty," guarding his fellows against threats. Like vigilant New Yorkers urged to "Say something if they see something," this parrot will issue a special alarm call to warn his fellows of any approaching danger.

These three Quaker Parrots might be too busy eating grit to notice the approach of a predator
These three strolling parrots might be too involved in grit-eating to notice an approach of a predator.

Upon hearing a threatening noise or seeing a threatening movement, the Quaker Parrot Sentinel warns his fellows to flee
Fortunately, the ever-vigilant Sentinel Parrot raises the alarm instantly (in this case, the alarm was just a truck backfiring, causing the birds to flee. But the Quaker Parrots' Sentinel Alert System (TM) is a crucial defense which these wild parrots deploy against predators, both human and non-human, which stalk them in Brooklyn.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Marty Markowitz: Stop the Parrot Poaching in Brooklyn!

Marty Markowitz Supports Anti-Poaching EffortsAs reported on, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has lent his support to the efforts to stop the poaching of our beloved wild Brooklyn Quaker Parrot. This is a big win for all who value our wild birds in the borough. Thanks, Marty - the "boids" of Brooklyn salute you!

For more information on the poaching situation in Brooklyn, see:

Brooklyn Courier: "Feathers Fly! Bird Watchers Say Parrots Are Being Pinched"

NY Daily News: Poachers Netting Famed Parrots

Discouraging Wild Parrot Poaching in the Borough of Brooklyn

Wild Parrot Poaching in Brooklyn: What Can Be Done?

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Parrots Retaking Poached Nests in Brooklyn?

Quaker Parrots renovating nest in Brooklyn
A group of Quaker Parrots performing nest renovations in an undisclosed location in Brooklyn

If you regularly read this site, you know that there have been several poaching incidents in mid and South Brooklyn recently. An unknown but significant number of wild parrots have been captured, decimating the population in certain Brooklyn neighborhoods. The captured parrots are reportedly being held somewhere where their human captors are using them as breeders. The motivation for this poaching appears to be economic: although wild caught parrots have minimal value (because the law in NY forbids their sale), their babies can be sold into the pet trade for several hundred dollars each.

I was in mid and South Brooklyn last weekend, inspecting some of the poached nests for signs of activity. Most remain abandoned, but at least one of them has been re-occupied, as the photo above shows. Here, 5 wild parrots are seen busily renovating a poached nest.

I'm not sure if this is good or bad news: if the poachers come back, these parrots may suffer the same fate as the former occupants. If the neighborhood is able to deter the poachers, these parrots may well have found a stable home. I will be monitoring this development closely. To protect the parrots, the location of this nest must remain a closely-guarded secret.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Brooklyn Parrots on WFUV, 90.7 FM, Tomorrow (Saturday)

Wild monk parrot on Avenue I, Brooklyn, NY
George Bodarky, who produces a program called Cityscape on WFUV-FM, will have a segment on the wild parrots of Brooklyn tomorrow (Saturday) at 7:30 AM. Tune to 90.7 on your FM dial, or, if you miss the show, you can always listen to an archived copy once it's uploaded to the WFUV web site archive area. It was fun showing George the parrots last week, and I'm very interested to hear the show myself. It's also nice that WFUV is Fordham's own station (I'm a Fordham alumnus)

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