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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Please Help FosterParrots.com Take Care of These Little Guys

Wild Baby Quaker Parrots Rescued from Throggs Neck Little League field, June 7, 2007
Some of the baby Quaker Parrots rescued from the Throggs Neck Little League, June 7, 2007 (photo credit: Alison Evans-Fragale)

Taking care of nearly 50 rescued baby Quaker Parrots is a big job, and Mark, Karen, Paul, and other volunteers at FosterParrots.com have done amazing work in the past few weeks. Feeding these hungry little guys takes nine hours a day, and the food they eat isn't exactly cheap. If you can help with just a few dollars, it would make a big difference. All funds raised go directly to the care of these rescued baby parrots, you can send money electronically, and all donations are tax deductible. Thanks much!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Press Release: Maspeth Bird Haven Seeks Support for Parrot Rescue

Press Release: Maspeth Bird Haven Seeks Support for Parrot RescueBarry Schwartz (who participated in the Great Baby Quaker Parrot Rescue Operation last week in the Bronx), sent this press release out to 30 newspapers today. None of the volunteers in this project are being paid for their time, but these hungry little birds need to be fed and housed. If there's any way you can help, please do.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2007

MASPETH BIRD HAVEN SEEKS SUPPORT FOR PARROT RESCUE
Co-Founder Helps Save Quaker Parakeets in the Bronx

Maspeth, NY -Barry A. Schwartz, vice-president and co-founder of Maspeth Bird Haven, Inc. (MBH), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit parrot rescue and adoption organization, assisted with the rescue of 43 Quaker Parakeet chicks and eggs, at a job-related project site in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx, on Thursday, June 7, 2007.

Mr. Schwartz, a geologist and project manager at the New York City Department of Design & Construction, along with several other co-workers, helped to remove the Quaker Parakeets at a City construction site. The chicks were then driven up to a rescue facility in Massachusetts, where they will be cared for. The Quakers were nesting some 40 feet above ground, in huge nests built on the service platforms on four of a baseball field’s light poles.

These parrots, whose origins are from southern South America, mainly Argentina, are natural nest-builders in the wild, and can be found in parts of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Connecticut, New Jersey, and even in Chicago, and are able to thrive in the more temperate and chilly climates. Although considered an invasive species (as are pigeons, starlings, and several other species of birds), Quakers Parakeets are harmless and have not been proven to pose a threat to any other species in the United States.

In New York City, colonies of Quaker Parakeets have been established since the late 1960’s, when they were still being imported, and before the ban on the import of parrots went into effect in 1992. Escaped Quakers formed the first established colonies in Brooklyn, and since then, Quakers that may have escaped from breeders and pet shops may have contributed to the establishment of other colonies in the metropolitan area.

The Throgs Neck Quakers’ nests needed to be removed for a light replacement project, and for the safety of electrical contractors working on the light poles, which illuminate a Little League ball field. The good news is that the adult Quakers have begun to rebuild their nests, and the chicks are doing well in the hands of the world-renowned rescue organization and sanctuary, Foster Parrots Ltd, of Rockland, MA.

The cost of caring for and feeding the baby Quakers, which ranged from a few days old to a few weeks old when they were pulled from the nests, is escalating, and on behalf of Foster Parrots Ltd., Maspeth Bird Haven, Inc. is seeking donations for the purchase of food and supplies, until the baby parrots do not have to be weaned anymore. Donations may be sent directly to Foster Parrots Ltd., P.O. Box 650, Rockland, MA 02370, and the sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) organization.

The whole story, along with photographs, can be seen at the web site www.brooklynparrots.com, hosted by Steve Baldwin.

Foster Parrots Ltd.’s website is at www.fosterparrots.com.

The public can find out further information about Maspeth Bird Haven, Inc. on the Internet at mysite.verizon.net/vzermrgu.

Monday, June 18, 2007

BrooklynParrots.com Earns Perch on New York Times City Room Blogroll

rooklynParrots.com Earns Perch on New York Times City Room BlogrollBrooklynParrots.com is now listed on the New York Times City Room Blogroll in the category "People and Neighborhoods." We are very grateful for this listing - if you're interested in checking out some other great NYC neighborhood sites (besides this one), or just want to stay current on what's going on in the 5 Boroughs, check out The City Room!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Photo-Essay: Early Morning Wild Parrot Action at Green-Wood Cemetery

Wild Quaker Parrots are agitated by the presence of a crow at Green-Wood Cemetery's main gate.
The weather is getting hot in Brooklyn, and one of the best way to beat the heat is to get out early while the air is still cool. So today at 7:15 AM I showed up at Green-Wood Cemetery to visit its resident parrots.

There was a lot of commotion around the big nest, and I immediately saw what was going on. A big crow was buzzing the nest, and his intent was to break in and eat some fresh eggs. There are lots of them (plus a lot of very young parrots) in the nest right now, and the parrots were doing their best to scare the crow off.

A mockingbird attempts to drive off a large crow at Green-Wood Cemetery's main gate. Photo 1 of 2
Suddenly a small grey bird leapt from the spire and began chasing the much larger crow. This bird was clearly not a parrot!

A mockingbird attempts to drive off a large crow at Green-Wood Cemetery's main gate. Photo 2 of 2
It was a mockingbird, and this bird meant business! Within about 15 seconds, he had chased the crow off.

A group of wild Quaker Parrots at Brooklyn's Green-wood Cemetery celebrate the victory of the mockingbird over the crow.
"Hurrah for the mockingbird!" cheered the parrots. "We knew he could sing -- who knew he could fight?'"

A mockingbird at Brooklyn's Green-wood cemetery enjoys his newfound fame.
The mockingbird, enjoying his new-found fame, launched into an extended song that included mocking the crow with "caw" sounds.

A grove of pine trees at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery adjacent to the plot of land where the markers for 1000 Civil War veterans have been arranged.
With the crow driven away, the parrots returned to their daily regime of nest renovations, using thorny twigs gathered by the grove of trees bordering the area where about the headstone markers for 1000 civil war era veterans have been placed. These markers will eventually be placed throughout the cemetery.

A wild Quaker Parrot in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery works to liberate a thorny twig from a pine tree.
During the summer months, this grove is one of the best places to get photos of the parrots as they work.

A wild Quaker Parrot in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemeteryvvisits the headstone marker of George Mason, Pvt, Co C, 6 NY Infantry, 1830-1862, who was mortally wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Photo 1 of 2
If you're lucky, you might even catch a parrot paying his respects to a departed Civil War veteran. This marker is for George Mason, Pvt, Co C, 6 NY Infantry, 1830-1862, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Second Bull Run.

A wild Quaker Parrot in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery visits the headstone marker of George Mason, Pvt, Co C, 6 NY Infantry, 1830-1862, who was mortally wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Photo 2 of 2

A wild Quaker Parrot in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery flies above the markers of Civil War veterans.

For more info on the Green-Wood Cemetery Parrots, please see:

Photo-Essay: Wild Parrots at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery Thriving in Springtime

The Greenwood Cemetery Parrots

Hawk Attack in Brooklyn!

The New Boids in Town (Wild Baby Quakers Storm Brooklyn)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Bronx Tale: The Great Baby Quaker Parrot Rescue: June 7, 2007

Kevin O'Connor and Barry Schwartz, 75-feet
above the ground, gingerly handles a wild baby
Quaker Parrot removed from its nest
prior to dismantling.
Wild Quaker Parrots have lived in the Bronx for many years, and have built a substantial colony in Pelham Bay Park (photo-essay) (video). But a lesser-known, albiet thriving colony of wild parrots also lives in another part of the Bronx called Throggs Neck. These parrots are much beloved by the residents of this leafy neighborhood, and have built large nests in and around the Throggs Neck Little League Baseball field. This field is leased on land belonging to the City of New York, and when it came time to replace the lights and electrical infrastructure around the field, the DDC (Department of Design and Construction) was called in to perform the work.

Of course, the parrots' large communal nests, built in the light towers, were in the way, and after much study and consideration, it was decided that the nests had to be removed to ensure the safety of the workers. Fortunately, the DDC has on its staff Barry A. Schwartz, vice-president and secretary of the Maspeth Bird Haven. Long before actual work began, Barry involved many folks who care about wild quakers, including Marc Johnson, Paul Brennan, and Karen Windsor of FosterParrots.com, Donna Dwyer, of CTQuakers.com, Alison Evans-Fragale, of EdgewaterParrots.com, and myself. Barry understood that while the DDC is expert when it comes to big construction projects, the project could benefit from having folks on hand who work with Quakers everyday. This operation also mobilized Mike Pastore, of New York Animal Care & Control.

Very early on the morning of June 7th, a group of 22 gathered at the field, were briefed on the day's operations, and then Barry and Jim of the DDC ascended the rented lift, with Kevin O'Conner's steady hands at the controls. A special probe was inserted into the nest to identify any babies within. The nests were removed very carefully, by hand, to ensure that any babies the probe wouldn't be hurt by a blunt instrument. Recovered baby Quakers were placed gingerly in either a carrier or a Tupperware container, depending on their age. Once the lift came down, these youngsters were placed in cushioned aquarium-style tanks. All of the young had full crops, so no immediate feeding was necessary. All in all, 43 babies, plus 3 eggs, were recovered from four large nests, and all birds and eggs were sped safely away to FosterParrots.com's facility where they will be raised and treated well.

We were all sad to see the Quakers' impressive nests removed, and it was agonizing watching the babies' parents watch as their young were removed from the family hearth. But this kind of major infrastructural improvement only happens once every 30 or 40 years. The latest news is that the birds have already begun rebuilding operations, and they'll have plenty of time to complete their nests (and perhaps breed again) before the cold weather sets in again.

I am very glad to have been associated with this operation and believe it to be a model of the way that municipalities should deal with Quaker Parrot nest removals. By bringing in volunteers, working very carefully, and being prepared, this operation was a complete success. Not an egg was damaged and not a feather was ruffled. These wild parrots have a highly favorable living situation, where their landlords (the Little League) not only tolerate their presence, but celebrate it. They have chosen wisely by choosing a city, and a borough, with a big heart.

(Note: I shot a lot of video of the operation and will have something ready for you to view soon. In the meantime, here are some photos).

Video of The Great Baby Quaker Parrot Rescue


Photos from the Great Baby Quaker Parrot Rescue, June 7, 2007
(click on any photo for an enlarged view)


The Throggs Neck Quakers, like their cousins elsewhere in New York City, have chosen to live in high stadium light pole arrays approximately 75 feet in the air. Many lights have failed or been broken (by line drives) over the years, necessitating their replacement.


Reaching these nests requires use of a hydraulic lift, which was rented for the operation.


In the lift were Barry A. Schwartz, Jim Ruchalski, of the DDC, and Kevin O'Connor.




This was the most careful, meticulous Quaker Parrot nest removal I've ever witnessed. No clumsy tools were used: clumps of twigs were pulled out by hand, to minimize the chance that babies or eggs would be injured. The workers also wore full HazMat suits, to eliminate even the slightest chance of inhaling any germs.







Here, a baby Quaker Parrot is handed gingerly from one worker to another. Keeping this little bird under control was crucial: he probably wouldn't have survived the 75-foot drop if he'd gotten loose. Happily, he made it safely into the carrier.









Early on in the operation, a baby, frightened by the activity, plunged out of the nest, and dove down in a straight line. It was clearly his first flight, and because he hadn't yet learned to turn, he collided with the clubhouse. We were all fearful that he'd been injured, but he was fine, albiet a bit stunned. Here, Paul Brennan, from FosterParrots.com, cradles this lucky bird. (photo credit: Allison Evans-Fragale)






The same bird, nicknamed "Bouncy," safely in a "critter tank," is will soon be whisked to an indoor aviary in Massachussettes, where he'll vastly improve his flight skills. (photo credit: Allison Evans-Fragale)









The workmen made many trips to and from the high nests, bearing their precious cargo with care.











The babies were sped to a carrier, where they would be shielded from the elements.












Quite a few of the rescued birds were mature babies, almost ready to make their own way in the world. (photo credit: Alison Evans-Fragale)












Others were much younger, and had just opened their eyes.(photo credit: Allison Evans-Fragale)













These fresh-born tiny babies were only a few days old when they were recovered, and were placed in a special temperature-controlled case.












Karen, of FosterParrots.com, joins a Throggs Neck resident in marveling at these little miracles. All in all, 43 young parrots were rescued plus 3 eggs.










This was an all-day operation, and just after 3:00 PM, a bunch of kids from a local school came by to see what all the excitement was about.












Many had never seen a wild baby parrot before.













We all felt very bad for these babies' parents, who must have felt terrible grief at the loss of their young. We wish we had a way to tell them that they would be well-cared for by good people. But we are also happy to learn that the adults have already begun rebuilding, and that the new nests they build will not be disturbed for a long, long time.







Some of the folks who participated in this rescue include (from left), Alison Evans-Fragale, Donna Dwyer, and Karen Windsor and Marc Johnson of FosterParrots.com.










Here's Paul, of FosterParrots.com. It appears that this baby recognizes the green Foster Parrots logo on Paul's shirt!


Care and skill of DDC personnel made this operation a success.

I shot a lot of video on that day and will be sharing it with you soon. I will also be chronicling the birds as they rebuild their lost domiciles this summer.(photo credit: Allison Evans-Fragale)


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Louisiana Quaker Parrots Survived Hurricane Katrina!

Louisiana Monks Survive Hurricane KatrinaI came across an interesting thread at a Web site called Dave's Garden. Apparently, the wild Quaker Parrots that have lived in New Orleans for years not only survived Hurricane Katrina, but have actually thrived in the ensuing months. According to a resident known as TessC, "they've multiplied like crazy" after the storm.

These are tough little birds!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

WNBC: Parrots Rule New Jersey Town


Wild Quaker Parrots in New Jersey
Lily Jamali is an intern with WNBC.com and she shot and edited a terrific video report on the famous Wild Quaker Parrots of Edgewater, New Jersey. It includes nice shots of the parrots, some quick interviews with some local parrot fans, and even some stunning shots of a marauding Red-Tailed Hawk. This video is currently on WNBC.com's web site: the URL is http://video.wnbc.com/player/?id=111458

Friday, June 01, 2007

BrooklynParrots.com Wins Kibibi Award

BrooklynParrots.com Wins Kibibi AwardThanks to the Webmaster of Kibibi's Web site for awarding BrooklynParrots.com its monthly "Kibibi" award. Kibibi's web site is a very nice site with many links to parrot-related content: as the award image illustrates, Kibibi is an African Grey parrot with a lot of personality!