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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brooklyn Parrots Star in Online Graphic Novel!

Brooklyn Parrots Star in Online Graphic Novel!
Image reproduced with permission from Meredith Gran.

Talented graphic artist Meredith Gran is the author of Octupus Pie: A Brooklyn Drama, and one of Brooklyn's wild Quaker Parrots shows up in a recent episode. I don't want to spoil the drama but the plot involves a sick bird, a slacker with a heart of gold, and a very happy ending. Meredith tells me that some of this action was inspired by my own tale of an attempted rescue of a sick parrot that didn't go half as well.

Octupus Pie is a witty, poignant, delightful series about life in Brooklyn. Oh, just a quick note to kids and skittish parents: the stories occasionally contain some frank language characteristic of young Brooklynites.

You can experience more of Meredith's fine work at octopuspie.com.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Parrots and Politics: Ralph Nader Speaks Extemporaneously With Highly Intelligent Parrot

As a non-profit organization, the Brooklyn Parrot Society (which runs this Web site) is prohibited from endorsing political candidates. Still, our board's chairman believes that the IRS will not revoke our pending 501 (c) (3) application just because we've embedded the following video spot, which features Ralph Nader having an extended conversation with a very intelligent parrot. Without conceding any endorsement of Mr. Nader's presidential campaign, this spot represents a gentler and more humane treatment of human-animal relations than any that could conceivably emerge from the camp of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whose attitude towards animals (evinced by her enthusiastic endorsement of the practice of hunting animals from airplanes) is regrettably cruel.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Were Wild Monk Parrots Transported to the Northeast U.S.A. Via Hurricane Gloria?

Wild Quaker Parrots in Flight, Edgewater, New Jersey, Photo 1 of 9
Did the Wild Monk (AKA Quaker) Parrots of the Northeast U.S.A. Hitch a Ride on Hurricane Gloria?

Like many, I've been surfing the Web searching for news of Hurricane Ike today. I happened to stumble across a very odd claim on a web page devoted to Hurricane Gloria, an extremely destructive storm which hit the New York area on September 27, 1985. On this page, there's an extraordinary claim that I couldn't resist mentioning:

One unusual occurrence after Hurricane Gloria was the number of parrots that took up residence along the Connecticut coast. Known a Monk Parrots - these tropical birds apparently became caught up in the eye of Hurricane Gloria as it passed just to the east of San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. The mild winter climate of the Connecticut coast allowed the birds to survive and breed in great numbers. Despite attempts by Connecticut Light and Power Company at eradication - the bright colored (yellow and green) tropical birds are still visible on telephone poles and in the marsh thickets along the Connecticut coast today. (emphasis added)

This is indeed the strangest claim about the arrival of monk parrots in the Northeast that I've ever heard. The notion that Monk Parrots have been using hurricanes to get around seems fantastical, but these little greenies may have some tricks up their sleeves that we barely know about. I'd have to do some more research before making any conclusions about this claim: it seems unlikely that many Monk Parrots would have been present in the vicinity of San Salvador Island in the 1980s but nobody's really explained why there are so many parrots living in the Northeast, their ability to survive violent weather, or why they seem to have arrived in the 1980s. I suppose anything in this big wild world is possible, especially when a big hurricane comes along!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Video: Chirping Birds Cheer Veterans

It's no secret that watching birds can do wonders for your mood. I learned this first-hand about a year ago, when a clinically depressed lady saw wild Quaker Parrots for the first time on one of our Wild Parrot Safaris. She smiled -- for the first time in five years! That's when I realized what others have long known: watching nature, and particularly birds, can provide a powerful bullwark against depression.

So hats off to the people who run the Orlando Veteran’s Administration facility and Air Force veteran Norman Cass. With funds raised from a local V.F.W. post, a small aviary was installed in a common area and it's been a big hit with the disabled veterans who live there. Thanks to Diane West of New York Tails for bringing this video to light. You can read more about the aviary here.