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).

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wild Parrots in New Jersey Need Your Help!

I'm reposting this from Alison Evans-Fragale, a great friend to the wild parrots that live in New Jersey.

Please folks -- it only takes a minute to send an e-mail message or make a call to one of the NJ reps listed below (many of whom already support the wild parrots but won't move without hearing a chorus of public support for our remarkable avian friends) :

To All Friends of the New Jersey Wild Parrots:

Time is running out for Bill S1768, which seeks to de-list Monk Parakeets (aka Quaker Parrots) from New Jersey's list of potentially dangerous species. There are only two dates left in this session for the bill to be heard: December 3rd and January 6th! If it is not heard, the birds' status as "pests" will remain unchanged, meaning they can be eradicated at any time and that their humane treatment is not ensured. It would also mean that we would have to start the legislative process all over again, beginning in the committees.

I have it on good authority that the bill may be heard, but the Senate Environment Committee needs to hear from us to make it happen.

Please take a minute of your time and send a letter to the Senators, whose names and contact info are listed below, and ask them to post Bill S1768 for a hearing.

Here is a sample letter you can copy and paste:

Dear Senator __________,

As a resident of __________, I urge you to post Bill S1768 for a hearing, and cast your vote to de-list Monk Parakeets from the potentially dangerous species list.

There is no evidence supporting their place on this list, and they bring many American citizens, like me, great joy.

As long as they remain on the list, humane treatment of the birds is not insured, and the birds can be indiscriminately killed. It is in your power to prevent this awful practice.

Thank you.



PLEASE send your letters and/or e-mail messages to:

Senator Richard Codey
Senate President
449 Mount Pleasant Avenue
West Orange, NJ 07052
Phone: (973) 731-6770
Fax: (973) 731-0647

Senator Bob Smith
Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee
216 Stelton Road, Suite E-5, Piscataway, NJ 08854
Phone: 732-752-0770
Fax: 732-752-1590

Senator Stephen Sweeney
Vice-Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee
Kingsway Commons
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400
Thorofare, NJ 08086
Phone: (856) 251-9801
Fax: (856) 251-9752

Senator John Adler
1916 Route 70 East
Suite 3
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Phone: (856) 489-3442
Fax: (856) 428-1358

Senator Andrew Ciesla
852 Highway 70
Brick, NJ 08724
Phone: (732) 840-9028
Fax: (732) 840-9757

Senator Henry McNamara
191 Godwin Ave.
2nd Floor
P.O. Box 68
Wyckoff, NJ 07481
Phone: (201) 848-9600
Fax: 201-848-0378

Your letters and calls count! The Senators need to hear from you (even if you do not live in NJ) to determine if this bill is important to their constituents and other states with populations of wild Monk Parakeets, so please make the effort to contact them! Send an e-mail, a letter, a fax, or call today--before it is too late! Your voice matters!

Please forward this info to anyone you think may want to help.

Thank you, in advance, for your kind efforts to save Edgewater's wild parrots.

Alison Evans-Fragale RN, MSN, CFNP,CLNC
Phone: (201) 735-0076
Fax: (201) 763-0087


Update on Endangered Wild Quaker Parrots of Yacolt, Washington

Wild Quaker Parrots of Yacolt, WashingtonA quick update from Yacolt, Washington. My correspondent tells me that the situation there remains tense. Yacolt City officials refuse to allow artificial nest platforms for the homeless parrots to be constructed: they want the parrots removed, and will kill any remaining there past a date certain.

Neither the power company (Clark County Public Utilities, AKA "PUD") nor the town will tolerate the presence of wild parrots in Yacolt, so the only hope for those who want to save them is to capture them and relocate them to a town willing to accept them.

There will be a gathering of bird groups and bird rescuers in Yacolt this weekend to discuss the stand-off. In the meantime, a grass-roots group, the Yacolt Quaker Parrot Preservation Association, has been formed to fight the wild parrot eradication effort. A Rapid Response Team from the Quaker Parakeet Society has been dispatched to inspect the situation on the ground and in the air.

There are a lot of raw emotions in Yacolt tonight. My correspondent writes: "I was very heart broken listening to the people. They love those parrots so much and they are so angry that the city didn't informed them on what their plans were. I had an old lady cry in my arms. She doesn't want these birds to leave or die. They are all she has in life right now."

My hope is that officials in the City of Yacolt change their mind, but I know that a lot of people don't really have much feeling for the natural world, and some people just don't like animals. Maybe Yacolt is just one of those places.

What's clear is that if the majority of people of Yacolt and their elected leadership don't want wild parrots flying free in their city, the parrots won't be around for much longer. It's too bad, because the presence of these wonderful birds was already making Yacolt a popular stop-over for parrot-watchers. As one resident declared, "the parrots put Yacolt on the map."

There will certainly be more news to report soon. Right now, all I can say is that I'm very glad that our civic leaders in Brooklyn, including Borough President Marty Markowitz, have a different viewpoint, and recognize that having wild parrots around is a wonderful thing.

For more on the Endangered Wild Quaker Parrots of Yacolt, Washington, see:

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Wild Parrot Killings Halted in Washington State

I'm pleased to report that Clark Public Utilities and the U.S.D.A. have called off their plan to kill the remaining wild parrots in Yacolt, Washington. My correspondents tell me that this decision was taken only because of overwhelming public opposition. The Web site of local TV station KGW also reports the fact that they have been spared.

Thanks to all of you who protested against this cruel action: this is great news but many issues remain, including how these parrots, now homeless, can possibly survive the winter. My hope is that the good citizens of Yacolt will construct artificial nest platforms and put out plenty of food so that the survivors have a shot. But at least we can all breathe a bit easier tonight: the killing has stopped and reason (always a scarce thing) has somehow prevailed.

Again, thanks for all your support, Steve Baldwin, Webmaster,

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Update on Washington State Wild Parrot Killings

Several new developments have occurred in the past 24 hours since I posted the original story about the Washington State Quaker Parrot killings. At least one exotic bird rescue group has approached Clark Public Utilities offering to rescue the birds. But an official known as "Lena" rebuffed the offer. My correspondent adds that "the PUD (Clark Public Utilities) does know all these other ways (of humanely controlling the parrots)" but for some unknown reason went ahead anyway.

Please call "Lena" at Clark Public Utilities and ask her to reconsider her decision. If you make the call, be polite and civil but also rational and firm. The number is 360-992-3000. I am told that the utility company is holding a meeting today to decide on a future course of action. Let's hope they opt to take the humane course.

Update 11/28: The website of The Columbian, a local newspaper in Clark County, has a poignant story (with a short video) on the plight of the Yacolt wild parrots.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

RED ALERT: Wild Parrots in Washington State Are Being Killed by U.S.D.A., Clark County Public Utilities

I received a disturbing report today from a resident of Washington State. According to her e-mail, Clark Public Utilities has announced that it will be killing the 50 or so wild Quaker Parrots that have lived in Yacolt, Washington, for some time.

I contacted Clark Public Utilities and have not heard back from them. In the meantime, this news story has appeared: 3 of the 50 wild parrots in Yacolt have already been killed.

You may register your comments with Clark Public Utilities by clicking on this e-mail link, which will connect you to their general mailbox. You can also call Clark Public Utilities at 360-992-3000. (Note: Please be civil if you call Clark Public Utilities. In my view, these people are misguided but should not be abused verbally. Please convey your message calmly, even though this is obviously an emotional subject.) Also, please forward this item to any anti-cruelty animal groups you think might be effective in terms of stopping these killings.

Update: 11/28: New story on this situation. The U.S.D.A. is the party actually doing the killing (although this issue has nothing to do with agriculture). Please call the regional office of the U.S.D.A. to protest at (360) 883-1987 (phone) and (360) 885-2284 fax

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving From

I was out with the Wild Quaker Parrots on Thanksgiving morning, shot a bit of video, and gave plenty of thanks to them for living in Brooklyn. Turns out that they enjoy "chowing down" as much as humans do on Thanksgiving day. Happy Thanksgiving! -- Steve Baldwin, Webmaster,

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Friday, November 16, 2007

"Parrot in the Street" Interview: What's Up With the New York Pigeon-Feeding Ban?

A Monk Parrot raises the anti-Hawk alarm
We caught up with Quake, one of Brooklyn's most outspoken wild parrots, to ask him how Councilman Simcha Felder’s controversial proposal to ban pigeon feeding in New York City was playing in the wild Quaker Parrot community. Surprisingly, it seems that many of Brooklyn's wild Quaker Parrots support it. Why do you support Councilman Felder's pigeon feeding ban?

Quake: Look, I don't want to misrepresent the facts here. This is a divisive issue and we parrots don't all support it. In fact I'd say that it's really only about 60-40 in support. But we put it to a vote, the "acks" had it, so we're going to endorse it. I still don't understand why you parrots support the ban. I thought you guys were generally friendly with the pigeons.

Quake: We generally are. In fact we wouldn't even have gotten involved in the issue, but the pigeons asked us to support it. So the whole thing came from them. The pigeons support the ban? That makes absolutely no sense.

Quake: If you could jump out of your fat stupid human head for a few minutes you'd see that the pigeons have nothing to lose from this ban, and everything to gain. You don't have to insult me.

Quake. I apologize. I forgot how thin-skinned you people are. Maybe that's because I haven't bitten any of you in a while. Could we get back to the pigeon ban? Why do the pigeons think it's in their best interest?

Quake: Look, none of us birds sees this thing as a law that's really aimed at pigeons. It's actually aimed at the hawks. In fact, it's basically a raptor reduction policy that's being sold to the public as a pigeon feeding ban. So it's brilliant. I'm totally lost now.

Quake: Think about it. If any politician in New York came right out and said they wanted to cut the number of Red-Tail Hawks in New York in half, you'd have all the Pale Male people burning them in effigy. Even the Audubon Society would be tearing your head off. But if you instead go after the hawk's food supply, which is mostly pigeons, you've got everybody praising you as a visionary. So you let me get this straight. If you ban feeding pigeons, you'll reduce the number of pigeons, which will reduce the number of hawks, which will help you parrots, because the hawks are your main enemies.

Quake: You know, for a human, you're pretty sharp.
That still doesn't explain why the pigeons are in favor of reducing their own population.

Quake: Short term it doesn't make sense. Long term it does. New York pigeons are a lot smarter than you think. They think at least eight generations ahead. You humans should think as long-term as they do. But now I'm coming close to insulting you again.
I'm still confused.

Quake: Why does that not surprise me? I mean, with zero pigeons on the scene aren't the hawks going to come after you more frequently?

Quake: No question. You're not worried?

Quake: We have full confidence in the Sentinel Alert System to protect us. How do the squirrels feel about this? Aren't the hawks going to go after them once the pigeons are gone?

Quake: The squirrels are definitely going to take a hit from this one. They're going to have to lie low for a couple of years, until the hawks leave the area. We feel bad for them but there's not a lot we can do. Besides, they're mammals: looking after them is your department, not ours. How about the hawks? What do they think?

Quake: We don't know and we don't care. We just want them out of here. Brooklyn is crawling with hawks. It's time for a change, and the pigeon-feeding ban is the first step in what we hope will be a major raptor reduction in the city. Well, thanks for your time today. You certainly have a unique perspective on this issue.

Quake: "Starve a Pigeon, Starve a Hawk:" that's the flock's new slogan. We're getting that crazy parrot guy in Brooklyn to make bumper stickers. They should sell in the millions. Thanks, again, Quake.

Quake: No problem.

Brooklyn Parrots discuss the pigeon problem with a Brooklyn Pigeon.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Video: The Fabulous Monk Parakeets of Brussels!

A YouTube videographer named Gersendeconure uploaded a short video showing a crowd of Monk Parkeets carousing in the middle of Brussels, Belgium. These little guys are just as loud and pugnacious as their brethren in Brooklyn. Apparently, monks have lived and thrived in Belgium since the late 1970's. There's more good information on the Brussels Monks at a site maintained by Danish Monk fan Per Holm Knudsen.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Disturbing News From Burnham, Illinois: You Can Help

I received a call today from a woman in Chicago, Illinois. Her report was very disturbing. Apparently, gangs of young men are shooting the wild Quakers that live in Burnham, which is a suburb of Chicago.

I am attempting to develop information before contacting the media. You can assist me if you know:
  1. Whether this situation is in fact occurring.

  2. Who in Chicago media I should direct my contact to get in touch with.

  3. The names, e-mails and phone numbers of regional anti-cruelty organizations active in the Chicago area.

  4. Academic institutions in Chicago area that might be able to exert influence.

  5. Church groups in Chicago who might have community influence in Burnham.

  6. Chicago-based bird groups that might have influence in Burnham.

  7. Political leaders who are pro-wildlife and/or anti-gun violence.

If you have any other suggestions, please let me know. Time is of the essence.

Thanks much,
Steve Baldwin

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Wild Quaker Parrot Video: Hawk Attack in Brooklyn!

My latest video depicts a very tense incident in which a Red-Tailed Hawk attacked a group of wild Quaker Parrots while they were feeding in Brooklyn's Sunset Park.

The hawk attacked silently and swiftly but I'm glad to say that all of the parrots got away, thanks to their famed Sentinel Alert System.

For more on the wild Quaker Parrots' continual battle against urban predators, see:

Photo-Essay: Hawk Attack in Brooklyn(August 18, 2006) and
Photo-Essay: Marauding Falcon Nearly Ruins Brooklyn Parrots' Labor Day Celebration (Sept 4, 2007). You can watch more Wild Quaker Parrot Videos by going to our video page.

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