BrooklynParrots.com: A Web Site About the Wild Parrots of Brooklyn

Quaker Parrot Facts, lore, audio files, video clips, photos, pictures, photo comics, and other information about Brooklyn's flocks of wild Quaker Parrots (AKA Monk Parakeets).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bay Ridge Wild Parrots Rebuilding Their Quaker Empire

A wild parrot in Bay Ridge surveys takes a break from reconstructing his clan's huge communal nest. Photo by Steve Baldwin, taken December 14, 2009.
A wild parrot in Bay Ridge surveys takes a break from reconstructing his clan's huge communal nest. Photo by Steve Baldwin, taken December 14, 2009.

Wild parrots have lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, for many years, concentrated around "The Dust Bowl," a large sandlot field between 65th and 66th Streets bordering 8th Avenue, and have been the focus of several photo-essays at BrooklynParrots.com.

This past fall, all of the parrot nests there were taken down as part of a renovation of "The Dust Bowl," but special provision was made to minimize the impact on the parrots. This included inspecting the parrot nests prior to demolition to make sure there were no youngsters inside, and more importantly, detaching and reattaching the horizontal maintenance platforms used by the parrots approximately 15 feet below the new lights. This latter step was an extraordinary gesture on behalf of the parrots and all Brooklyn nature lovers are much in debt to NY Council Member Vincent Gentile, the Parks Department, the DDC, and Land Tek, the contractor for making this happen.

The question, however, remained: even with all the human efforts on their behalf, would the parrots actually return or decide to abandon Bay Ridge forever? Well, these supremely territorial birds decided to stay, even with all the disruptions going on. Instead of turning tail, they've been building like crazy, and the following photo essay takes a look at the parrots' efforts to reconstitute their Bay Ridge community. I suppose none of us should be surprised: after all, these hardy birds have survived freak tornadoes, the constant truck traffic on 65th Street, and the constant presence of aerial predators. All photos by Stephen C. Baldwin of BrooklynParrots.com.

A row of four newly rebuilt stadium lights on 66th Street. Two of these lights (the nearest and furthest from the camera) have been retrofitted with parrot-friendly access platforms. The same feature is present on the row of lights on 65th Street. Photo by Steve Baldwin, taken December 14, 2009.
A row of four newly rebuilt stadium lights on 66th Street. Two of these lights (the nearest and furthest from the camera) have been retrofitted with parrot-friendly access platforms. The same feature is present on the row of lights on 65th Street.

The parrots have been working overtime to reconstruct the massive communal nests destroyed during the renovation. This nest looks to weigh at least 75 pounds and will likely get larger in the next few months.  The lowering of the maintenance platform means that the parrots can build as much as they want without ever interfering with the electrical distribution system used by the lights.
The parrots have been working overtime to reconstruct the massive communal nests destroyed during the renovation. This nest looks to weigh at least 75 pounds and will likely get larger in the next few months. The lowering of the maintenance platform means that the parrots can build as much as they want without ever interfering with the electrical distribution system used by the lights.

Even though the rebuilt Dust Bowl will be made of inedible Astroturf, the parrots will still be able to forage across the street. Here a group of birds searches for tasty treats on 66th Street.
Even though the rebuilt "Dust Bowl" will be made of inedible Astroturf, the parrots will still be able to forage across the street. Here a group of birds searches for tasty treats on 66th Street.

Two healthy looking Bay Ridge Parrots forage on 66th Street.
Two healthy looking Bay Ridge Parrots forage on 66th Street.

While it seems that most of the displaced parrots have decided to rebuild their nests at the Dust Bowl, several pairs have taken off to nearby streets to build nests in power poles. Here a pair of wild Quakers is busy building a nest heated by a transformer. Con Ed doesn't like it when this happens but my hope is that they'll leave the parrots alone until the cold weather passes.
While it seems that most of the displaced parrots have decided to rebuild their nests at the "Dust Bowl," several pairs have taken off to nearby streets to build nests in power poles. Here a pair of wild Quakers is busy building a nest heated by a transformer. Con Ed doesn't like it when this happens but my hope is that they'll leave the parrots alone until the cold weather passes.

Another hazard for the displaced parrots is the arrival of some deadly avian predators who've been preying on the pigeons of Bay Ridge. At least one parrot has been killed by this predator in recent weeks. Here this brute plots his next move from a pole on 8th Avenue.
Another hazard for the displaced parrots is the arrival of some deadly avian predators who've been preying on the pigeons of Bay Ridge. At least one parrot has been killed by this predator in recent weeks. Here this brute plots his next move from a pole on 8th Avenue.

Predators like these are magnificent and have their share of human fans. But they make life a living hell for the peaceful prey birds of Bay Ridge. Let's hope this bad boy moves off to another neighborhood soon.
Predators like these are magnificent and have their share of human fans. But they make life a living hell for the peaceful prey birds of Bay Ridge. Let's hope this bad boy moves off to another neighborhood soon!

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