Friday, December 17, 2010

Parks Department Explains Wild Parrot Nest Removals in The Bronx, New York

A representative of the New York Parks Department has explained the recent wild Monk Parakeet (AKA Quaker Parrot) removals at the southward edge of Pelham Bay Park. This explanation occurred on a hastily assembled mailing list, and approval for complete reproduction is pending. But I can say the following with confidence:

The Parks Department appears to have exercised due diligence, but the unfortunate  onset of extremely cold weather surprised them. While a prior post expressed impatience, I am pleased that the Parks Department represented presented such a complete account of steps taken to accommodate the parrots during work which was necessary because some of the existing lighting fixtures at the park were deemed to present a hazard to the public.

I accept all of this, and would only like such removals to take place earlier in the year. Late August through the end of November presents a 14 week period in which such removals can occur without causing unnecessary suffering to the parrots.

People have asked me what to do if they want to help the birds. Please feed them, because they are hungry. The wild parrots we're concerned with don't mind the cold (in fact there's evidence that heat bothers them much more than cold). But they will have expended lots of energy perching on branches. So if you have a bird feeder, please fill it up. Millet or finch food is great (you can find it at the supermarket in the pet food area). Parakeet or parrot food is even better, although food for large parrots is usually ignored: monk parakeets don't have bills large enough to break apart large nuts quickly.

And now, the good news. Wild Quaker Parrots have successfully colonized parts of the Bronx, and an important beachhead at Throggs Neck continues to support parrots. My hope is that any displaced birds from Pelham Bay Park will find their fellows at the Throggs Neck Little League Field, where nesting possibilities abound. Or they could make their way up I-95 to New Rochelle. My point is that even with this recent disturbance, wild parrots will continue to flock in The Bronx for the foreseeable future. This is good news. And for your viewing pleasure, here's a video I shot of the wild Quaker Parrots at Pelham Bay Park in their heyday:

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