Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bill and Coo: The Citizen Kane of Bird Movies?

I'm very glad to be a member of The Long Island Parrot Society, and regularly receive its periodic newsletter. This January, LIPS showed a truly remarkable film to its members called Bill and Coo. This film, made in 1947, stars trained bird actors (including many love birds and parakeets), and it's one of the oddest, most charming movies I've never seen.

Bill and Coo was the product of comedian Ken Murray's fervid imagination: in the words of James Agee, the noted author who also reviewed films for Time Magazine, "it's the G*d-damnest thing I've ever seen." Sure, it might strike us modern viewers as a bit corny, and perhaps its plotline is a bit emblematic of early Cold War paranoia. But this Oscar-nominated film is a striking technical achievement, as well as an unforgettable act of love celebrating our feathered friends. And yes, folks, it's a love story, and I guess I'm a sucker for love.

As you probably know, I am working, with Diane West, on my own movie about the wild parrots of Brooklyn, and it will be quite unlike Bill and Coo. But I am strangely moved and inspired by this film, and you can watch it online, for free, by going to tesla.liketelevision.com (Real Player Required).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Video Clip: Wild Quaker Parrots in the Snow!

During the past week, New York was blitzed by a ferocious winter snowstorm, followed by several days of beak-chilling wind gusts that brought windchills down to sub-zero zones.

Before the wild parrots of Brooklyn entered my life, I would never have dared spend more than a few minutes exposed to this arctic cold. But today such weather fills me with an irresistable urge to go out and check up on my wild green pals. How are they faring in this brutal weather? How does winter modify their behavior? Do they become desperate when snow and ice covers their ordinary foraging grounds? Do they give up nest-building to simply hunker down in their high-rise "happy huts?"

This past weekend, dressed in six layers of clothing and armed with eight pounds of bird seed and a video camera, I sought to capture the wintertime antics of these hardy avian invaders, and have completed the first of two short video segments.

I hope you enjoy the strange sight of these remarkable urban parrots as they clamber over frosty snowdrifts to get a tasty, human-supplied meal - I froze my tail off shooting this clip!



This clip, like just about every clip we upload, will be making its way into the forthcoming Brooklyn Parrots documentary film.

Why I Have Removed the Brooklyn Parrots Map From This Site

With sadness and regrets, I have disabled the interactive map which formerly showed the locations of the wild parrots living throughout the New York City area. I had provided this service for researchers and the general public, and I know it was one of this site's most popular features.

I have removed the map because of information that has recently surfaced in the ongoing investigation into multiple incidents of wild parrot poaching in the borough of Brooklyn. While it does not appear that the poachers have relied on my map to accomplish their evil deeds, any information which might be of use to these miscreants must be withheld.

I will continue to track the population of wild parrots in NYC and you are encouraged to send me any news you find. I will continue to maintain the interactive wild parrot map but will keep it offline, where the parrot poachers will never find it. If you are a researcher, journalist, or other bona fide student of the wild parrots, please contact me and I will share information with you privately. I will also continue to share information about the wild flocks of parrots which grace our borough with the general public via this site, but only such information which cannot be used against the parrots in whose cause I serve.

Sincerely,
Steve Baldwin
The Brooklyn Parrot Society

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Video Clip: Enjoy Lunch With the Wild Brooklyn Quaker Parrots!

The hippest, best dressed crowd in Brooklyn isn't dining at Peter Lugar's, Franny's, or Al Di La's: they're chowing down in the wilds of Midwood: the place where the avian elite meet to eat!

Of course, some might say that the local gang of parrots, pigeons, sparrows, and starlings featured in this clip aren't exactly "elite," but these birds are definitely "cool" (after all, who wouldn't be with the temperature in the mid teens and steady wind from the West?), and their flashy but functional outfits never go out of style.

They're also hungry, and I am very glad to say that the Hartz Mountain Corporation generously donated the bird food enjoyed by these hardy avians, on this chilly Sunday, in this wild and wacky borough.



This clip, like just about every clip we upload, will be making its way into the forthcoming Brooklyn Parrots documentary film.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Breaking News: Wild Parrots' Perches Protected in San Francisco

The City of San Francisco is Protecting the Trees upon which the parrots dependThanks to the efforts of pro-parrot partisan Mark Bittner, the City of San Francisco is taking steps to preserve the trees upon which the parrots depend, according to a 2/14/2007 in the San Francisco Chronicle, by Charlie Goodyear. Preserving trees (even if they're on private property) is a vital step: without them, there wouldn't be wild parrots in San Francisco or Brooklyn. Call me a tree hugger but that's just the way it is!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Video Clip: Quaker Parrots Frolic in Freezing Cold!

Here's another video clip for Valentine's Day. It shows the amorous antics of two wild Quaker Parrots perching on a rusty fire escape in 15 degree February weather.

The clip opens with a female parrot perching alone: she is soon joined by her returning mate. After reintroducing himself, they do some serious beak-to-beak communcation. Later, the pair's juvenile arrives, and Mom and Dad "cool it" in deference to the youngster's adolescent sensibilities.

This clip, like just about every clip we upload, will be making its way into the forthcoming Brooklyn Parrots documentary film.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Marty Markowitz Honors Brooklyn's Parrots in 2007 State of the Borough Address

Marty Markowitz Honors Parrots in 2007 State of the Borough AddressBrooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz mentioned the parrots last week in his 2007 State of the Borough Speech, the complete transcript of which you can read online. Here's the relevant passage:

Last month, the internationally respected "Lonely Planet" travel guide named Brooklyn one of the hottest tourist destinations in the entire world. Lonely Planet only chose three destinations in America: Hawaii, which I guess has beautiful beaches, just like Brooklyn, New Orleans, which has culture, wonderful food, OK. And, who woulda thunk it: the City of Brooklyn!

Why did they choose Brooklyn? Could it be our wild parrots in Midwood? Could it be the Glatt Kosher pastrami egg rolls you can find only in Brooklyn, at Dougie's Barbecue in Kensington? Or could it be our renowned tourist attraction: the incredible shrinking Borough President? It's true, I've lost a little weight: when people call me "three quarters of the man I once was," I take it as a compliment!


Marty also went before our cameras to talk about the parrots recently: you can watch him by clicking this link.

New York Times "Talking Parrot" Videos

Monk Parrots in BrooklynLast summer, the New York Times sent a video crew to Brooklyn to interview Dr. Joseph Forshaw, who had made a stopover on his U.S. trip to see the wild parrots of Brooklyn. Although the Times has removed the original article from public view, the videos themselves are freely viewable; if you missed them, you can watch them here:

Talking Parrots: Part 1
Talking Parrots: Part 2
Talking Parrots: Part 3

Monday, February 05, 2007

Love Under an AC Unit

To commemorate Valentine's Day, here's a video clip of a pair of wild Quaker Parrots in Brooklyn who've set up a cozy home under an air conditioner. This affectionate pair does a bit of preening, and a fair share of snuggling, which happens a lot during the winter, because it's a great way to keep warm! This clip, like just about every clip we upload, will be making its way into the forthcoming Brooklyn Parrots documentary film.

Video Clip: Quaker Parrot Repels Starling

I've been watching wild Quaker Parrots living in the NYC area for two years now and have never seen them behave aggressively toward any other bird who was not an actual predator. But starlings, of which there must be thousands in Brooklyn, do sometimes "bug" the parrots enough to get a firm rebuke from a firm beak. In this 20 second clip, a Quaker Parrot drives off a starling who tries to crowd the parrot's position on a fire escape. This clip, like just about every clip we upload, will be making its way into the forthcoming Brooklyn Parrots documentary film.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Something Special for Valentine's Day

I love you! said one Monk Parrot to the other
Wild Monk Parrots mate for life and are fiercely loyal to each other.

Brooklyn Parrots I Love You MugI usually don't celebrate Valentine's Day. Frankly, the last good one I had was in 2nd Grade, and even that one didn't turn out so well. But the time I've recently spent with wild monk parrots in NYC has restored my interest in the sweet mysteries of love, so I've created a mug featuring a pair of wild monks perched on a cyclone fence whispering sweet parrot nothings to each other.

If you've got a sweetheart who's as parrot crazy as you are, and you want to impress him/her, the Brooklyn Parrots "I Love You" coffee mug might be the perfect gift. It's just $12.99 and if you order it in the next week or so, you'll probably have it by February 14th. All profits go to the parrots in the form of bird seed, fresh treats, bagels and pizza!

Video Clip: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz Discusses the Wild Parrots of Brooklyn

I was very glad to hear from Marty Markowitz' office yesterday. It turns out that Marty mentioned the wild parrots of Brooklyn in his State of the Borough speech yesterday!

We shot some footage of Marty a few months back for the forthcoming Brooklyn Parrots movie, and wanted to share a few clips of Marty talking about the "Brooklyn Boids." The office of the Borough President has been very helpful trying to track down the creeps who have been poaching our beloved birds in certain sections of Brooklyn. I can't say much about this investigation but we have several leads. This clip, like just about every clip we upload, will be making its way into the forthcoming Brooklyn Parrots documentary film.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Video Clip: Wild Quaker Parrots "Rumble" in Brooklyn

Brooklyn's wild flocks of Quaker Parrots generally get along well with other neighborhood creatures. But these parrots do seem to enjoy fighting each other from time to time. In this clip, excerpted from the forthcoming film on the Brooklyn Parrots, a bunch of pugnacious wild quakers "dust it up," causing a lot of ruffled feathers. Fortunately, nobody gets hurt! This clip, like just about every clip we upload, will be making its way into the forthcoming Brooklyn Parrots documentary film.