Friday, May 30, 2008

Breaking News: Connecticut Wild Parrots Face New and Deadly Threat

Wild parrot gunner stands at the ready by his turret-mounted 9-mm cannon
A wild Quaker Parrot in Connecticut takes up a defensive position in preparation for further human assaults on his colony.

Two and a half years after activists successfully halted United Illuminating's deadly campaign against the wild parrots of Connecticut, a Connecticut Superior Court judge has allowed UI to resume its parrot-killing policy. While there is no immediate indication that United Illuminating will resort to such deadly measures in the next few weeks, it now has a legal free hand and it appears that nothing short of an act of the Connecticut legislature can spare the parrots from further harm.

This legal defeat is a serious blow to Wild Parrot Conservationists and other groups concerned with the welfare of wild animals. From what I have learned, it appears that the legal strategy pursued by Friends of Animals was deeply flawed. The groups has stated that it intends to appeal the decision but the damage is deep, and the parrots will find themselves in serious danger in the weeks and months ahead.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day 2008, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Wild Quaker Parrot rises above headstones of American Civil War Dead, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, May 25, 2008, Photo by Steve Baldwin
Wild Quaker Parrot rises above markers for American Civil War Dead, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, May 25, 2008, by Steve Baldwin

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Photos: Bay Ridge 2008 Norwegian Independence Parade

This Sunday, May 18th, was a rainy day, which made it a poor day for photographing Brooklyn's Wild Quaker Parrots. But I ran smack into Bay Ridge's annual Norwegian Independence Day Parade, so I shot some pictures of some colorfully-clad humans marching joyfully through the wet streets. Enjoy!

-steve baldwin

If you can't see the embedded slideshow, you can browse the pix on the Flickr Set I created for this event by clicking here.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Brooklyn "Wild Quaker Parrots" Appear on CSI NY

I don't own a television set, but I received numerous reports this week that a key plot point in the plot of Season 4, Episode 19, of the popular TV show CSI NY centers around the wild Quaker Parrots that live in Brooklyn.

The parrots (or rather several particles of parrot guano) figure into the citywide hunt for the "Cabbie Killer" when this guano is found on a tarp left behind by the killer. The scene concerning the parrots occurs about 18 minutes in; the exposition (on the grounds of the mythical "Kings County College") goes as follows:

  • Detective 1: "Analysis of the white trace I pulled off our latest tarp came back as avian waste."

  • Detective 2: "There are about a million pigeons in this town."

  • Detective 1: "But how many wild South American Quaker Parrots do you think there are? (pointing up at tree upon which numerous squawking parrots are perched). Back in the late sixties there was some crook working the tarmac at JFK unloading cargo planes and he liked to keep some cargo for himself. Only he got more than he bargained for when he opened one from Argentina. It turns out that it was packed full of parrots. Once they flew the coop they took up roost here, multiplying in numbers and noise ever since. So maybe our cabbie killer got his tarps from someplace in this vicinity."
Unfortunately, while CSI's exposition is more or less on target, the parrots shown aren't real wild Quaker Parrots, but seem to be Conures and/or Caiques. Apparently, much of CSI NY is actually shot in California (where Quakers are illegal), hence the odd substitution.

I'm gratified that the Brooklyn Parrots are now solving crimes for the NYPD, but am more than a bit miffed at CBS, because the last thing I want is for people to start racing to Brooklyn looking for flocks of wild Caiques and Conures (there are none here). I don't mean to squawk, but there are enough wild myths about the wild parrots in Brooklyn floating around -- the last thing we need is more misinformation served up to the credulous multitudes!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Is PSE&G The Most Parrot-Friendly Utility Company in the U.S.A.?

Like other utility companies serving customers in regions of the U.S.A. where wild parrots now fly free, New Jersey's Public Service Electric & Gas must occasionally remove nests built by the parrots on electrical infrastructure. But PSE&G has demonstrated extraordinary sensitivity towards both the parrots and the folks who like them, as was demonstrated in a recent e-mail exchange between Alison Evans-Fragale, of, and representatives in its Overhead Construction Palisades Division.

This exchange concerned the fact that the nest teardowns scheduled to occur in March and early April (an ideal time when it is both warm enough for de-nested parrots to survive but before their annual breeding cycle begins) could not be performed. Instead of simply doing the nest teardowns later in the Spring (when there would be major damage to eggs in such nests), PSE&G agreed to wait until some time after the babies have fledged (which usually occurs by late summer).

If you're a regular reader of this site, you know that I have written some harsh words about other utility companies whose wild parrot control policies have been heavy-handed and harsh. But PS&G has proven it has a heart by listening to the wildlife community, moving toward best practices, and forging a path that I am confident will lead to a situation of improved coexistence between parrot and man. In a world where money too often wins out over kindness, PSE&G deserves praise by all who value our free-range urban parrots.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Photo-Essay: Wild Parrots Feast and Fight in Brooklyn

Springtime in Brooklyn means lots of tasty leaf buds begin to blossom, attracting flocks of wild Quaker Parrots. At beautiful Green-Wood Cemetery, one of the best places to check out some serious feral parrot action is in some of its soaring Horse Chestnut trees, which line the west side of the cemetery near 5th Avenue.

These trees (Aesculus Hippocastanum), native to Greece and Albania, stand just a few yards from where the wild Quaker Parrots (native to Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Brazil) have built their huge nest complex.

These wild Quaker Parrots are just getting ready to devour one of their favorite treats: wild Horse Chestnut blossoms.

Do horse chestnut blossoms have some mysterious aphrodisiac quality useful to the Quaker Parrots' pre-mating season rituals? Or are they just taste good?

Either way, these hungry parrots don't waste any time digging in.

Elsewhere in the Cemetery, there's a lot of arguing going on, and it's par for the course whenever you find wild Quakers undergoing their annual pre-mating season madness.

The parrots' rambunctious behavior occasionally interrupts their feeding.

But most birds simply enjoy the feast, and leave the noisy physical contact to the teenagers.