Monday, January 28, 2008

Time Running Out for Yacolt Wild Parrots: Please Help!

Time Running Out for Yacolt Wild Parrots: Please Help!A very important meeting is happening tonight in Yacolt, Washington, in which pro-parrot people will be presenting their case to the Yacolt City Council and the Clark PUD (Public Utilities Department). The fate of Yacolt's wild parrots hang in the balance. Please sign our petition - we have 327 signatures but really need a minimum of 500 to be taken seriously. Thanks much!

New Monk Parakeet-Branded Rum Goes On Market

New Monk Parakeet-Branded Rum Goes On MarketRailean Distillers, based in San Leon, Texas, has introduced a new brand of rum whose bottles are conspicuously branded with the image of the Monk Parakeet (AKA "Quaker Parrots," or "dem boids," as they are known in Brooklyn). I haven't tried this rum yet, and don't know if it's distributed in Brooklyn, but I've have heard that it is already the preferred spirit among members of the Quaker Parakeet Society.

Railean chose the Monk Parakeet as its marketing icon because San Leon, Texas, is host to a small tribe of monks, who fit right in with the "modern day pirates, fishermen, and local taverns where rum is the drink of choice." It proves that many U.S. citizens regard the presence of wild parrots in their communities as sources of pride, not as the "invasive nuisance" that many utility companies, and even the Audubon Society, cite in their literature.

If you have a bottle of Railean on hand, do yourself a favor and mix yourself a "Monk Parakeet," a potent drink involving 1 shot of Railean Rum, 1/2 shot Melon Liqueur, pineapple/orange juice, 7-up or sprite. Don't drink any "Monk Parakeets," prior to meeting with your local energy company if you're trying to extract an honest answer about why they're being so mean to these wild parrots. But there's probably no better drink to curl up with to celebrate those rare moments when they do behave humanely.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Manhattan Beach Monk Parakeet Colony Wiped Out: Who Did It?

Sad News: Alex the Parrot Crosses The Rainbow BridgeBrooklyn's Manhattan Beach neighborhood, lying just to the East of Brighton Beach, has been home to wild parrots for many years. Several pairs have built nests near the Manhattan Beach main bathhouse on Oriental Boulevard. According to people I have spoken to in the neighborhood, the parrots have lived in this neighborhood for at least seven years.

I visited this thriving colony last on January 1, 2008, and saw about a dozen parrots active in the neighborhood. Today, I revisited the colony and was shocked: all the nests have been torn down, and no birds were evident anywhere in the vicinity. I suspect that Con Edison may have taken the nests down, but need more evidence. If Con Ed did so, it would represent a violation of best practices for nest teardowns, which should only occur when there is no danger of the birds freezing to death. I also want to know what happened to the parrots. Did Con Edison trap them? If so, where are they now?

If you are a resident of Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, or Manhattan Beach, and witnessed any teardowns between January 1 and January 25, 2008, please send me e-mail. These teardowns should not have happened in this time period; I am attempting to ascertain whether Con Edison, its contractor, or another entity did the work, who authorized it, why best practices were not followed in this case, whether the community was consulted, and most importantly, what happened to the parrots? I need to get as many facts as possible before I approach the NY media with this story.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Parrot Fun Stuff: Parrot vs. Keyboard Video

I was talking to my pal Alison Evans-Fragale today and there's nothing that her pet parrot loves to do more than disassemble valuable computer equipment, especially keyboards. She pointed out that somebody had made a cute time-lapse video of a parrot making mincemeat of such a keyboard: here it is, courtesy of YouTube user ahhthelogic.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Yacolt Wild Parrots Get Human-Made Homes!

<br />An alternative nest platform constructed in Yacolt Washington for the wild quaker parakeets made homeless by the Clark Public Utilities Department in late 2007

<br />An alternative nest platform constructed in Yacolt Washington for the wild quaker parakeets made homeless by the Clark Public Utilities Department in late 2007
Both photos by Chris Driggins

Here are two recent photos taken by Chris Driggins, of www.nwbirdrescue.com, showing one of the recently constructed alternate nest platforms built in Yacolt, Washington, for the wild parrots displaced by the local utility company. The sticks placed at the top of these nests weren't placed by the parrots, but were put there as an inducement for them to begin construction. With any luck at all, the parrots will soon discover it and begin rebuilding their destroyed homes.

Chris has trying to work with members of the Yacolt Quaker Parrot Preservation Association and the Quaker Parrot Society to keep the parrots alive through the cold months. You can read more about the Yacolt Wild Parrot Crisis by clicking here and you can tell officials in the town of Yacolt and the Clark County Public Utilities Department to end their anti-parrot pogrom by signing our online petition.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Breaking News: Wild Parrot Expert Travels to Yacolt; Allegations Continue Over Utility Company Misconduct

Latest Update on Embattled Wild Parrots of Yacolt, WashingtonToday, bad news is mixed with the good in the continuing Wild Parrot Crisis of Yacolt, Washington. While residents of Yacolt struggle mightily to erect alternative nest platforms for the wild parrots of Yacolt, there is reason to question the behavior of the Clark County Public Utilities Department. Wild parrot advocate Alison Evans-Fragale, who is following the situation closely, sent the following two emergency e-mail updates to wild parrot conservation groups noting some of these allegations, which are highly troubling. At the same time, internationally renowned Quaker Parrot expert Jon-Mark Davey is travelling from Florida to Yacolt in an effort to moderate the situation.

Update 1/21/07: An online petition has been uploaded; it petitions the Town of Yacolt and the Clark County Public Utilities Department to spare the wild parrots' lives. Please sign it and pass it on if you would like to see these innocent creatures granted clemency.

(E-mails from Alison Evans-Fragale, of EdgewaterParrots.com)

The "(parrots') stay of execution" ends on March 27th, at which time Clark PUD is expected to resume their efforts to slaughter the wild Monk Parakeets that call Yacolt their home.

Clark PUD claims they have stopped killing for now, yet today they were videotaped removing nests from utility poles in a blizzard with temperatures below 30 degrees. Additionally, I was sent photos of the poor parakeets soaking wet and freezing, watching as their homes were destroyed. Clark PUD may claim that they are not killing the birds, but the inhumane treatment they are inflicting on the birds by rendering them homeless and exposing them to severe cold will ultimately cause each bird to die a slow and uncomfortable death.

The utility company continues to lie to the public, adhering to the mantra that the birds are pests and pose a threat to their equipment. This has to stop. There are humane alternatives, and we need to join together to put an end to Clark PUD's inhumanity.

Below is the letter I sent to the local newspapers, as well as Yacolt's Mayor and Council, and Dean Sutherland at Clark PUD.

I encourage you to send your comments in defense of the Yacolt parakeets to:
Kindly forward this message to bird boards or anyone you think may want to help the wild parakeets. We are the only hope they have.

Alison


Alison Evans-Fragale alison@edgewaterparrots.com wrote:

Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 18:45:25 -0800 (PST)
From: Alison Evans-Fragale
Subject: Letter on Behalf of Yacolt's Wild Monk Parakeets
To: undisclosed recipients

Dean Sutherland, Director of Community Affairs for Clark Public Utilities, recently stated, "Clark Public Utilities is not involved in the design or implementation of the recovery or preservation efforts related to the parakeets in Yacolt".

Not involved?! Clark PUD established the parameters and deadlines for the slaughter of the Yacolt's wild Monk Parakeets, and they are responsible for the reason things are the way they are today! They failed to maintain the nests, and now they are trying to pass the buck to the local Mayor and Council.

If Clark PUD CARES, as they claim to, they should be working night and day to find a solution. If not, they have no right to demand the birds are killed or relocated!

No one knows more about what can work on the wires or poles, and individuals involved in the attempt to save the birds need input from Clark PUD to come up with a viable solution. In Edgewater, New Jersey, PSE&G and the Edgewater Parrots team developed a successful strategy to humanely manage Edgewater's population of over 200 Monk Parakeets. We were successful because we worked together. Monk Parakeet rescuers in Yacolt should DEMAND that Clark PU work with them for the very same reason!

Clark PUD should be working WITH rescuers in Yacolt -- period -- for so many reasons, including:

Every single effort to eradicate the wild Monks has proven unsuccessful. That would leave them holding the bag for the unnecessary murder of innocent birds AND having to deal with bad PR. Any benefit they think they might gain by exterminating the birds would be lost in a sea of bad PR for them -- not just locally, but nationwide!

Working with the community is excellent PR for the utility company— -- murdering innocent birds while they sleep and submitting them for research is not. At a minimum, Clark PU should realize that they are creating a public relations problem that exceeds any benefit they think they might gain by slaughtering the birds.

There are many alternatives to killing. Public discussion with the community and with other power companies who face the same situation, will result in viable and cost effective solutions to this problem, while affording protection to Monk Parakeets, and allowing the community of Yacolt to continue to enjoy and respect wildlife.

I can't help but wonder why Clark PUD has chosen to kill instead of re-engineering its assets to dissuade the parrots from building their nests in utility poles.

Evidently, Clark PUD imbibed the USDA Kool-Aid. Despite their statement that the wild Monk Parakeets pose no threat, the USDA, and other companies, including one named Pandion, hold seminars to teach utility companies how to kill the birds, as well as seminars on how to "manage" public opinion. The false information fed to the residents of Yacolt by Clark PUD is the same "lesson" taught to utility companies and released to the public in CT, NY, and Florida. It is released to the public with the hope that the information will convince the public to see the birds as pests and tolerate the senseless killing.

Clark PUD is lying to residents of Yacolt. The truth is that the birds not pose a threat to agriculture or other birds. Their nests do not weigh 2,400 pounds. The nests do not cause pole fires.

Additionally, Clark PUD did not remove the nests after the breeding season in an effort to be humane. They employed a strategy utilized by all utility companies: to remove the nests when it is cold to insure that the ones they don't catch will die from exposure and stall when removing the nests until it is so late that no one will be around to see what they do.

Clark PUD released a statement that they are not killing the birds, yet they were caught on video-tape removing a nest just today! Nest removals at this time of year exposes the birds to extreme weather, including sleet, snow, and freezing temperatures, and this on-going practice of removing nests as they are being re-built is certain to result in a slow and cruel death for the few Monk Parakeets that survived the attempted eradication a few weeks ago.

The "euthanasia" they employ is far from humane. The birds that are trapped in their nets suffer multiple crush injuries, broken wings and limbs, and severed extremities before they are thrown into a gas chamber or sent to a research facility in Florida or Colorado.

There are humane solutions. In New Jersey, PSE&G successfully manages a population of over 200 wild Monk parakeets by utilizing humane solutions, including bi-annual nest removals during temperate weather, both before and after the breeding season. They also install orange insulating sleeves on utility poles after removing the nests, which deter re-building efforts. PSE&G has offered to discuss their efforts with Clark PU, but, to date, Clark has not made any effort to contact PSE&G.

Yacolt residents deserve to be told the truth by Clark PUD. They should be angry that they are being manipulated and should demand that and that Clark PU work with rescuers and consult with other utility companies in an effort to provide humane treatment of the parakeets as well as to preserve nature in their town.

Anyone wishing proof of anything I have stated in my letter, please contact me by e-mail at: alison@edgewaterparrots.com. I stand by my words and am more than happy to share my evidence with any individual who wants to know the truth and help save the Monk Parakeets of Yacolt.

Alison Evans-Fragale RN, MSN, CFNP, CLNC
Founder
EdgewaterParrots.com
Edgewater, New Jersey

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Citizens of Yacolt, Washington Raise First "Monk Bunker" For Homeless Wild Parrots

Residents of Yacolt Washington Raise First In a surprisingly hopeful development in the Yacolt, Washington Wild Parrot Crisis, several citizens have succeeded in erecting the first of several artificial parrot nesting platforms. Plenty of work went on behind the scenes before the first platform could be built, including securing permits. Providing non-power infrastucture roosting platforms has worked in Connecticut: let's all keep our fingers crossed that the Yacolt Quaker Parrots will adopt these "monk bunkers" soon!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sparky the Quaker Parrot is a Master Builder

Sparky the Quaker parrot belongs to Linda Magee, an important figure in the Northwest U.S. classical music scene. Linda has given Sparky a lot of room to build an extraordinary indoor nest which clearly demonstrates this species extraordinary construction abilities, evidence of which we see in Brooklyn and elsewhere wherever wild Quaker parrots are in residence. Go Sparky!

(Note: don't miss the sequence about 4 minutes in when the camera pulls back. Only then can you see the true magnitude of this Quaker's architectural ambitions!)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Daily News Covers NY Parrot Refuge

The New York Daily News published a nice write-up of the Maspeth Bird Haven, a parrot refuge run by Barry and Gayle Schwartz. Barry has been a great friend to the wild Quaker parrots that live in the New York area and was a key player in the successful rescue of 50 baby quakers in Throggs Neck back in June. Three cheers for the Daily News for running this story, which includes a photo gallery of some of Barry and Gayle's avian charges.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Latest Update on Embattled Wild Parrots of Yacolt, Washington

Latest Update on Embattled Wild Parrots of Yacolt, WashingtonThe weather has turned frigid in the Northwest, a heavy snow is falling, and the battle for the lives of Yacolt, Washington's endangered wild parrots has escalated. Volunteers in Yacolt are working against the clock to erect temporary nest platforms so that the parrots made homeless by the local utility company's untimely destruction of their nests might have a chance to survive. Chris "Birdman" Driggins, along with a hardy crew of local residents, is working hard to keep as many birds alive as possible in this continuing crisis. You can read more about this developing situation at BirdChannel.com; I don't know how this situation will ultimately turn out, but wish the hardy volunteers the best. All of us in Brooklyn who cherish our wild parrots are very happy that Brooklyn's own green immigrants aren't shivering in the frosty air tonight: it's wicked cold outside!