Monday, July 28, 2008
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Wild Quaker Parrots have been living in Whitestone, Queens, for some years now, and the first reliable documentation of their presence there is from 1996. The parrots started out building tree nests in Frances Lewis Park below the eastern side of the Whitestone bridge, but a storm came in 2000 and dispersed them through the neighborhood. Since then they've holed up in power pole nests.
Nobody really knows how these parrots got to Whitestone. There is a large colony across the bay at Throggs Neck, and one in Pelham Bay. Perhaps the parrots in Whitestone are descendants of an early exploratory colony that made its way from JFK Airport in the 1960s. Some even speculate that the colony in Whitestone flew there from Rikers Island in the early 1970s to escape federal eradication efforts.
The fact that there are wild parrots -- even rare wild mitred conures -- roaming the skies of Queens should be a sign of Green Pride. While they may pose a headache for Con Edison and Verizon, they are a source of pride and amusement in the local neighborhood and serve as proof that Whitestone's ecology is sound. Several residents have expressed interest in installing monk bunker alternative nest platforms to house them.
Friday, July 25, 2008
One of these days, I'm going to have to visit Texas, not just because it's both the home of Railean Rum (the only booze branded with a Monk Parakeet) and is also the home of many wild Monks, but because the Houston Zoo recently hatched one of the most endangered parrots around: the St. Vincent Amazon. Only 800 St. Vincent Amazons are known to exist in the wild, which makes the hatching of Vincent this past May a welcome event. You can read more about Vincent on the site of the Houston Chronicle newspaper.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
A temple in Indore, India, becomes home to hundreds of thousands of Indian Ringneck parrots each year. The parrots gather to eat grain left by worshipers. Check out this awesome BBC video depicting this mass gathering of green parrots. We've got plenty of parrots in Brooklyn but not this many!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Community activist Sharon Woolums performs "When They Tore Down Washington Square Park"
I spend so much time in Brooklyn tracking wild parrots that I rarely set foot in Manhattan, the borough where I was born and spent most of my life. So I was shocked when I visited Washington Square Park recently and saw the rampant destruction visited upon it by bulldozers and tree cutters. More than 28 old-growth trees have already been felled, graves have been dug up, the storied fountain has been destroyed (and will be rebuilt with a 45-foot water spray device that will be loud enough to drown out musicians), and the path of destruction has only just begun. Soon a tall fence will be constructed around the park, further restricting access to rare green space in downtown Manhattan.
How did this happen? Why did what once a vital activist community roll over and let powerful interests "privatize" what was once the cultural heart of Greenwich Village? Here lies a story of intrigue and backroom political deals, and I learned enough about it to produce a song and video starring community activist Sharon Woolums, who fought in vain for three years to save Washington Square Park.
So please enjoy When They Tore Down Washington Square Park, recorded at The Monk Bunker, Brooklyn, NY.