BrooklynParrots.com: 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, December 31, 2007

Monkzilla (Brooklyn's Most Opinionated and Cantankerous Wild Parrot) Reviews 2007

Monkzilla (Brooklyn's Most Opinionated and Cantankerous Wild Parrot) Reviews 2007The wild Brooklyn parrot known as Monkzilla, widely reputed to be Brooklyn's most opinionated and cantankerous member of the species Myiopsitta Monachas, grudgingly acknowledges that 2007 wasn't a completely bad year for his beleaguered but free-ranging flock. Here is his annual list of highlights and low points for 2007.

  1. Connecticut May Have a Heart. I'm glad to note that the United Illuminating Company, which was bone-headed enough to believe that it could kill off almost 300 of my distant cousins in 2005 without the public making a peep of protest, decided in 2007 to stop doing this. I'm still angry that the nest removals happened during the cold weather, but at least this company is showing some progress along the path to decency. The situation in Connecticut bears continual watching, but at least there's some hope that the stone-hearted barbarians will be kept at bay.

  2. Am I Still a Dangerous Species? Look, I may have a decidedly urban attitude but I'm not the "dangerous species" that many people make me out to be, and Alison Evans-Fragale, of EdgewaterParrots.com, continues to push to have me de-listed from the "Potentially Dangerous Species" list in New Jersey. Bill S 1768 has been bouncing around the legislature this year but I hope that 2008 is the year that New Jersey finally gives me some respect for being the entertaining and well-behaved Garden State resident that I am.

  3. One Million Trees to Grow in NYC? I'm not a big fan of politicians, but New York City Mayor Bloomberg's plan to plant 1,000,000 new trees by 2017 is a great way to provide more perching possibilities. My vote is for Sycamore trees, which are my flock's favorite tree for year-round nibbling. Go Mike!

  4. Alex the Parrot R.I.P. I don't know too many African Greys, but if they're as smart and sensitive as I am they deserve to be memorialized, so I'm glad that Alex got his share of honoring after he passed last year, most notably in the New York Times' annual end-of-year issue. My only real regret is that Alex spent his whole life in a lab. Let's hope that his wild tribe (which is highly endangered in Africa) continues to fly as wild and free as we Quakers do in the skies of Brooklyn.

  5. The Yacolt Wild Parrot Crisis. I never dreamed that my gentle kind could rip a remote mountain town to pieces, but that's what happened in Yacolt, Washington, where it seems that the community has been divided into two warring factions over my future there after the local utility company, in cahoots with the U.S.D.A., killed off three of my distant relatives and the town fathers gave my relatives "30 days to get out of town or else." Thank goodness there are some cool people in Yacolt, including Chris Driggins (AKA "Birdman") who are working towards a humane solution along with the Quaker Parakeet Society. I mean, hey, if you really want us to leave, we'll fly away, but why not use us wee parrots to encourage eco-tourism? We could put Yacolt on the map!

  6. Action Closer to Home. It's been a year of ups and downs in Brooklyn. Lots of my nests have been torn down by Verizon and Con Edison (notably in Bay Ridge, where a few crabby neighbors complained about me), and I lost a whole generation when there was a big teardown at Brooklyn College and the contractor didn't even contact a rehabber, but instead unilaterally gave my babies away to people in the neighborhood. But my kind is hanging on in Brooklyn, although I'm not going to tell anyone where any of my new nests are. Actually, I'm very lucky to be living here, given that most people in this heterogeneous borough accept me as an exotic pilgrim instead of dissing me as an "illegal avian."
There's been some other good news in 2007 that I don't want to ignore. My wild cousins have begun to re-occupy New Orleans, which I thought they'd never do after that terrible hurricane a few years back. A lot of folks came forward to help save a bunch of young parrots from destruction in the Bronx, and this was a great thing. And Cliff Patterson, who's a big fan of my kind, is getting better after suffering a bad bout of ill health. So while 2007 had its challenges, there's no reason that 2008 won't be a great year for us all.

Happy New Year, fellow sentient beings! Remember that "hope is the thing with feathers!"

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Three Cheers for Dave and Vickie Spurlin

Three Cheers for Dave and Vickie SpurlinOne of the joys of the Internet is finding about fine folks who care for parrots all over the world. Dave and Vickie Spurlin run Parrots-R-4Ever Avian Rescue, in Huntsville, Alabama, a no-kill facility for parrots that have been abandoned by their owners. Their fine work sheltering abandoned parrots has recently gotten some well-deserved media attention. You can support Dave and Vickie's good works at their Website, www.parrots4ever.com.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wild Quaker Parrots Under the Mistletoe


Happy Holidays, all! May we all be as contented as the Quaker Parrots in this video this season, who don't let the cold December winds dampen their affectionate spirits.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Brooklyn Parrots 2008 Wall Calendar Now Available!

I've taken my best photos and made a 2008 Wild Quaker Parrot Wall Calendar you can get at my Cafe Press store. Just for fun, here's a slideshow that shows all of the photos. Most of these photos have never been published anywhere, even on BrooklynParrots.com Enjoy! Steve Baldwin.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

This is the third Wild Quaker Parrot calendar I've made and I think the 2008 Wild Parrot Calendar is my best work yet. I chose each image carefully to show what wild Quaker Parrots do in, say, January (busily insulating their nests) or in August (taking some time off to spend at the beach).

You can inspect the calendar pages and (if you like it) buy it by clicking here. All proceeds go to keeping the Wild Parrot Safaris free to the public. Order now to receive before January 1, 2008!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Yacolt Wild Quaker Parrots: Your Comments Are Welcome

Yacolt Wild Quaker Parrots: Your Comments Are WelcomeChris Driggens, of www.nwbirdrescue.com, called me yesterday and asked me to post a link to a story on the Wild Quaker Parrots of Yacolt. Chris is a good guy who's worked very hard over the past few weeks to forge a humane solution to the parrot problem in Yacolt. So if you admire what he's trying to do (as I do), please follow this link and post a positive comment: Chris tells me that getting positive comments will help the Quakers a lot as this issue moves forward.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Video: NJ Parrots at Bird Feeder

I got an e-mail from a Fort Lee resident today mentioning that he got some good video close-ups of a gang of about 12 wild New Jersey parrots helping themselves to a tasty meal from a bird feeder. These parrots likely hailed from Edgewater. Enjoy!

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Monkzilla of Manhattan Beach Addresses Wild Parrot Crisis in Yacolt, Washington

One of Brooklyn's senior feral parrots broke his traditional silence to address the dire situation faced by his distant relatives in Yacolt, Washington. This parrot, widely known in South Brooklyn as "Monkzilla," minces no words in calling for a humane solution to the Wild Parrot Crisis in Washington.



For more information on the Wild Quaker Parrot Crisis in Yacolt, Washington, see:

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wild Pizza-Eating Parrots Receiving More Attention From Scientists

Two wild parrots in Brooklyn perching in a tree feast on wild pizza
Wild Parrots on Brooklyn's Bedford Avenue enjoying a slice of Brooklyn pizza.

I'm happy to say that at least one of my photos showing Brooklyn's wild Quaker Parrots eating pizza has been selected to appear in a forthcoming textbook on Urban Wildlife Issues. Apparently, the fact that Myiopsitta Monachus (AKA "Dem Green Boids") has successfully adapted to the availability of world-class pizza in both Brooklyn and New Jersey is being taken very seriously by evolutionary biologists.

I am delighted that this remarkable behavior is finally receiving the academic attention it deserves.

An argument between a monk parrot and a starling over a slice of pizza. Photo 2 of 3
A wild New Jersey parrot competes with a local starling for a particularly choice crust of New Jersey-style pizza.

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Perch On, Oh Yacolt Parakeets! (Poets Weigh in on Yacolt Wild Parrot Crisis)

Perch On, Oh Yacolt Parakeets! (Poets Weigh in on Yacolt Wild Parrot Crisis)The poets have spoken. The Wild Parrots of Yacolt, Washington must be saved.

The only thing I'd object to is the line "a thimble can contain your brains." It's not the size of one's computing mechanism that counts, otherwise the room-sized computers of 1952 would be able to out-compute today's mobile processors. It's the degree of integration, and I can tell you that our beloved Monks are well-integrated beasties!

Anyway, this latest missive from the artsy crowd is a favorable indication that perhaps the wild Quaker Parrots of Yacolt can be saved. After all, once the poets jump on the bandwagon it's a sure bet that public opinion has shifted in the right direction. And by the way, if you'd like to read a poem closer to the heart of parrot-crazy Brooklyn, please check out our The Brooklyn Parrots Christmas Poem.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Yacolt Wild Parrot Preservation Efforts Continue (With a Few Hitches)

Yacolt Wild Parrot Preservation Efforts Continue (With a Few Hitches)As mentioned a few days ago, pro-parrot citizens in Yacolt, Washington are attempting to forge a humane solution to the Yacolt Wild Quaker Parrot Crisis by deploying alternative nest platforms (AKA "Monk Bunkers"). The first construction session on Sunday had to be halted due to snow, but work continues this week. A permit for the platform must be obtained from the City of Yacolt, so the earliest the first platform can be erected will be in January.

Special thanks to the Quaker Parrot Society for donating funds for this first platform. You can support this effort either by using QPS's easy Pay Pal link (scroll down on the page and you'll see the button on the LH side) or by sending funds via postal mail to:

QPS
P.O. Box 7241
Eugene, OR 97401

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Quaker News From All Over: Quaker Parrot Becomes School Mascot in Galesburg, Illinois

Quaker News From All Over: Quaker Parrot Becomes School Mascot in Galesburg, IllinoisNice story at Galesburg.com (home of the Register-Mail) about Al, a Quaker Parrot who's become the school mascot at the AlWood Elementary School. Al spends his workdays at the school but goes home on weekends in the care of the Dean of Students. The parrot adds a lot to the school, and is apparently both a good talker and a great listener. According to the school superintendent, "He’s more of a counselor than I’ll ever be... (the kids will) often talk to him before they’ll say anything to me."

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

"Holiday Hassle" - Starring the Wild Parrots of Brooklyn!


I've seen some amazing battles in the past few weeks between the wild parrots of Brooklyn and the deadly avian predators patrolling New York's skies. Here's a quick 90-second video that captures one of these encounters and also functions as a holiday greeting card. Enjoy!

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Citizens of Yacolt, Washington, Rally to Save Their Free-Range Quaker Parrots

Quaker Parrot Nest Construction, Fairfield, Connecticut, January 7, 2004
"Monk Bunkers" Under Construction in Connecticut, January 2006

I spoke today to Joy Tindall, a resident of Yacolt, Washington who recently formed YPPA (the Yacolt Parrot Preservation Association). Joy has been leading the charge to save Yacolt's wild Quaker Parrots (AKA Monk Parakeets) from extermination. Joy and a small band of pro-parrot partisans are working hard with both the Clark County Public Utility Department and the City of Yacolt to provide alternative nesting platforms (AKA "Monk Bunkers") for the wild parrots to build on.

Joy has no Internet access right now and asked me to broadcast the news that this Sunday, December 9th, there will be a nesting platform working session. Volunteers are needed to assemble these platforms. If you're in the neighborhood of Yacolt, have basic hand tools, and are willing to help, you'll be welcome at this session. Here are the details:

When: This Sunday, December 9th, at 2:00 PM
Where: The Yacolt Pentecostal Church, which is at the intersection of Humphrey and Rank, Yacolt, Washington.

Please call Joy at 360-320-9768 for more information on this working session.
"Monk Bunkers" have successfully provided wild Quaker Parrots safe refuge for the winter. Monk Bunkers are easy to build and the design for them is not patented, which means that they can be built without any licensing fee. You can listen to a radio commercial created by BrooklynParrots to promote Monk Bunkers by clicking on this link.

I asked Joy how the homeless parrots are doing. The weather in Yacolt is rainy and cold, and the parrots seem to be sheltering in trees. Joy and other concerned residents are doing their utmost to keep the parrots fed. With luck and hard work, there will be human-engineered homes for them to return to before the ice and snow set in.

Note: The Oregon-based news site OregonianLive.com has an updated story recounting the latest developments in the Wild Quaker Parrot Crisis in Yacolt that was posted today, December 7th, 2007.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Yacolt Wild Parrot Crisis Deteriorates Into Chaos and Confusion

Yacolt Wild Parrot Crisis Devolves into Chaos and ConfusionI am saddened to report that the wild parrot controversy in Yacolt Washington appears to have descended into near anarchy. According to my source, an emergency meeting called last weekend to discuss the fate of the Wild Quaker Parakeets of Yacolt devolved into a blizzard of "name-calling" and ad hominem attacks.

The gathered pro-parrot groups now appear split into three warring contingents: those who want to capture the parrots and give them sanctuary in a parrot-friendly city, those who want them to remain free, and those who want to capture and sell them back to Yacolt city residents for $75 each. As my correspondent (who favors keeping the parrots wild) notes, "it's now a 3-ring circus and open game on the poor Quaker Parrots." At the same time, unnamed officials of the City of Yacolt have issued an ironclad edict giving the parrots four months to "get out of town" or face a team of trained snipers (an event which was only narrowly averted last week).

While I had high hopes that there might be a happy ending to this crisis, it now appears to me that the situation in Yacolt is clearly beyond rational solution. While I count myself in the camp favoring keeping the parrots wild, it seems that the parrots have so many human enemies in the City of Yacolt that allowing them to remain there would put them in severe peril.

Wild parrots will never survive in places where powerful authorities collectively decide to be rid of them: we learned that in the 19th Century in the sad case of the Carolina Parakeet, which was hunted to extinction, and we appear to be learning it again in the City of Yacolt, Washington, which is clearly bent on making its skies parrot-free. At the very least let us rescue the remaining birds before April 1, 2008 and avoid another deadly fusillade.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

December 2007 Brooklyn Wild Parrot Safari Captured in Fabulous Photo-Essay!

December 2007 Brooklyn Wild Parrot Safari Captured in Fabulous Photo-Essay
Photo Credit: Bonnie of Frogma

December's Brooklyn Wild Parrot Safari was one of our most exciting yet, and Bonnie, who runs a wonderful Blog called Frogma, (Being the Continuing Adventures of a Woman and her Trusty Kayak in New York Harbor, the Hudson River, and Beyond) created a fantastic annotated photo-essay showing the Wild Parrot Safari highlights, which included a "Battle of Britain"-style aerial dogfight between the intrepid Brooklyn Parrots (cast in the R.A.F. Spitfire role) and a deadly mystery predator that we're still trying to identify. Thanks, Bonnie!

Our next Wild Parrot Safari in Brooklyn will be on Saturday, January 5th. Be there or be square!

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NYC Birders Take Note: The Christmas Bird Count is Happening on Sunday, December 17th

If you've never participated in an Audubon Society Bird Count, it's a great experience. You have to get up very early (we meet at 8:00 AM at the South Pumping Station of the Reservoir in Central Park), but it's a great way to meet fellow NYC-based birders, have some fun identifying the many diverse bird species in the park, and enjoy a hot complimentary lunch at the Armory. If you plan to attend, be sure to RSVP to 212.360.1396. There's a $5 donation fee: more info is here.

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