Saturday, April 04, 2009
BREAKING NEWS: Wild Parrot Nest Removals at Green-Wood Cemetery
One of two artificial nest platforms erected at Green-Wood Cemetery for use by Monk Parakeets during renovation of main gate structure.
Last week, a long-planned project to inspect and renovate the main gate at Green-Wood Cemetery began. Part of the work requires the partial or complete removal of the massive colonial nests built by the Monk Parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots) who have lived there for years. Fortunately, the project engineers consulted with various Quaker Parrot experts, who advised them to do their work before the Quakers' breeding season began. Failing to do this can result in the inhumane situation of removing young birds from their parents' care when they most need it, plus the need to take care of these young parrots, whose lifespans can exceed 30 years. This happened at Throgs Neck in 2007, and may happen within weeks in Bay Ridge unless the project managers can somehow be persuaded to delay their planned work (which will happen in June) to a time after the parrots finish breeding.
It is always painful to watch such nest removals and their aftermath. Several attendees of the April 2009 Wild Brooklyn Parrot Safari grimaced while watching the birds frantically rebuild their nests while knowing their efforts were in vain. At the same time, it is actually good that these removals happened when they did. Although the parrots' breeding season was interrupted, they'll likely simply delay having young until they can rebuild their nests.
Additionally, it was truly inspiring to see the efforts of Green-Wood Cemetery's management to minimize the suffering of the parrots. Two large steel artificial nest platforms were deployed to provide temporary shelter for the parrots during the renovation project. Using best practices for wild parrot nest removals proves that Green-Wood Cemetery truly values its wild parrots, and wants them to be there for future generations to enjoy.
You can clearly see the area cleared by the renovation workers at the center of the photo (below the perching parrots). First an inspection will take place to assess any damage to the stone (there doesn't look like any in this photo), followed by necessary renovation work.
Two steel artificial nest platform towers on each side of the main gate have been constructed to provide temporary housing for the parrots while work on the main gate proceeds.
Sticks were placed in the North nest platform to coax the parrots into visiting them and using them for temporary housing. Several parrots were observed "checking out" the platforms on Saturday, April 4, 2009.
The platform design uses gridwork to provide an anchor for Monk Parakeet stick nests. There are no twigs placed on the South platform: it will be interesting to see whether the Monks build on it, or whether they just use it for perching (as might other interesting avians).
While the nest removals represent a hardship for Green-Wood's wild parrots, extraordinary care was taken to minimize the suffering. Hopefully, within a month or so, life will return to normal at Green-Wood's historic main gate, where the parrots have roosted for many years.