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Monday, June 21, 2010

Off-Topic: Dave Dudly: Six Days on the Road

Years ago, long before I discovered the Wild Parrots of Brooklyn, I worked for Polygram Records, laboring deep within Polygram's sprawling tape vault in Edison, New Jersey. I rejoiced whenever a request came in for a copy of a Dave Dudley song -- usually from Europe, where Dave was regarded as a major country star -- especially "Six Days on the Road," a song which so colorfully sums up the American "white line fever" spirit.

Dave died a few years back, but I will always think of him as one of the towering giants of American country music. It's a shame more people don't know of him today. Here's Dave with a fine band - arguably finer than the one on his million-selling record - recorded from a 1970 TV show. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Off-Topic: Marshall Efron is David & Goliath

Marshall Efron is one of the funniest people on earth, and yet his work is practically invisible on the Web. Here's a classic clip from Marshall's Illustrated, Simplified And Painless Sunday School TV show. Don't even think about trying to get something like this on the air in our timorous times today!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Don't Buy a Parrot - Adopt A Parrot!

People often call or e-mail me asking me whether I can help them find a Quaker or other parrot to serve as a human companion. Often the request is to obtain a bird to alleviate the loneliness among an existing solitary pet bird serving as a human companion.

For those in the New York area, I recommend the Feathered Friends bird sanctuary. For those beyond NYC, there are many good agencies that can help you, including Adopt-A-Pet (formerly 1-800-Save-A-Pet), which functions as a clearinghouse designed to match birds put out for adoption with prospective human adopters. Using Adopt-A-Pet is easy; just select your pet type, type in your zip code with a travel range, and search. When I searched Adopt-A-Pet today, there were many parrots looking for nice people to care for them.

Another good service is PetFinder.com. Again, just type in the kind of animal you're looking for, your zip code plus travel range, and you should instantly get results. So please use a service of this kind if you're looking for a companion and are prepared to make the commitment.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Rename The Dust Bowl" Competition Begins!

Rename The Dust Bowl Competition Begins
NY Councilman Vincent Gentile -- the man largely responsible for the complete renovation of the Brooklyn Park formerly known as "The Dust Bowl," is taking submissions for new names that will better describe the new park, because, of course, it is now fully turfed. Naturally, I think that because the park so visibly features some of Brooklyn's fabulous Quaker Parrots, a parrot-themed name is appropriate. So here are some suggestions:

1. Quaker Parrot Field
2. Monk Parakeet Park
3. Avian Stadium
4. Brooklyn Parrot Acres

Got a good name? Go over to Councilman Gentile's Blog and submit it. After August 1st, the top three submissions will be put to a district-wide vote. May the best name win!

New York State Mulls Protecting Wild Quaker Parrots

The last parrot to be indigenous to the Eastern U.S., the Carolina Parakeet, died in captivity almost 100 years ago. Today, through a series of accidents and odd events that no human intended, the East Coast is host to a bird -- the Quaker Parrot -- that's a close cousin to the lost Carolina Parakeet. Wild Quaker Parrots have lived in New York State for more than 40 years now, without any protection at all. Consequently, they've been subject to poaching and occasional persecution. But a new bill introduced in the New York State Legislature hopes to remedy that. Read More.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Brooklyn's Leif Erickson Fields Re-Opens After Parrot-Friendly Redesign

A wild parrot in Bay Ridge surveys takes a break from reconstructing his clan's huge communal nest. Photo by Stephen C. Baldwin
A wild Brooklyn Quaker Parrot takes a break from reconstruction work at Brooklyn's Lief Erickson Fields. Photo by Stephen C. Baldwin.

Today I had the high honor of being  invited to give a short speech on the Wild Parrots of Brooklyn at today's ribbon-cutting ceremony for the renovated athletic facility formerly known as the "dust bowl" at Brooklyn's Leif Erickson Park. I was included because I became involved in this project as a consultant, and this work included a hair-raising but rewarding ride on a cherry-picker last Fall to make sure there were no young parrots in the light fixtures before these fixtures were changed out to the new design.

It was a pleasure to meet Council Member Vincent Gentile, who both  secured funding for the massive upgrade of the park, and also worked closely with parrot conservations groups to make sure that the work did  not harm the parrots or destroy their habitat.
NYC Council Member Vincent Gentile was instrumental in getting the funding for this park's reconstruction and a key player in making the park Quaker Parrot-friendly. Photo by Stephen C. Baldwin.

It was a pleasure to meet Council Member Vincent Gentile, who both secured funding for the massive upgrade of the park, and also worked closely with parrot conservations groups to make sure that the work did not harm the parrots or destroy their habitat. In my book, he's a real hero. Councilman Gentile is also sponsoring a naming competition to rename the field (formerly known as "The Dust Bowl") to something more appropriate - perhaps Quaker Parrot Park?

It was also great to hear from NYC Parks Commissioner Adrien Benepe. He spoke fondly of Brooklyn's wild parrots, and he played a big role in ensuring that his agency worked closely with Landtek, the contractor to make sure that the work was done in an environmentally friendly way.
NY Parks Commissioner Adrian Benape has always taken a strong interest in New York City's wildlife and was extremely helpful in getting the work done in such a way that the parrots are safe. Photo by Stephen C. Baldwin.

It was also great to hear from NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. He spoke fondly of Brooklyn's wild parrots, and he played a big role in ensuring that his agency worked closely with Landtek, the contractor to make sure that the work was done in an environmentally friendly way. So many people, including Barry Schwartz, of the DDC, and the good folks from Landtek, made this happen and deserve thanks from everybody who appreciates the wild parrots.

One couldn't have imagined a nicer day to do a new Park ribbon-cutting ceremony in Brooklyn.
One couldn't have imagined a nicer day to do a new Park ribbon-cutting ceremony in Brooklyn. Photo by Stephen C. Baldwin.

Lots of folks turned out from the community, including several ball teams, community groups, the media, and a group of kids.
Lots of folks turned out from the community, including several ball teams, community groups, the media, and a group of kids. The new ball field includes a state-of-the-art type of synthetic grass designed to stay cool, even in hot weather. This view is toward the Western part of the park: one of the two rebuilt parrot nests is at the extreme left. Photo by Stephen C. Baldwin.

Here you can see one of the light poles whose design was altered to preserve the platform used by the parrots to anchor their nest
Here you can see one of the light poles whose design was altered to preserve the platform used by the parrots to anchor their colonial nests. The platform from the old lights was relocated down a few feet, which will keep the parrots from attempting to rebuild any nests on the new lights, where such construction could cause electrical or future maintenance problems. The parrots have been in rebuilding mode for some time, and, as you can see, this parrot nest is intact and growing! Photo by Stephen C. Baldwin.

Two healthy looking Bay Ridge Parrots forage on 66th Street.
Across the street, two of Bay Ridge's hardy wild Quaker Parrots forage for food. I'm sure they are sending thanks to Councilman Gentile, Commissioner Benepe, and everybody else responsible for protecting them throughout this historic park renovation project. Photo by Stephen C. Baldwin.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Brooklyn's Quakers Are Tough!

Brooklyn's Quakers Are Tough!
During this past Saturday's monthly Wild Parrot Safari in Brooklyn, our group witnessed a moment of high drama. Two Quakers were flying together at a low altitude, and the leading one was hit by a speeding car. The bird that was hit went down to the pavement, and its companion hovered in the air, issuing the strong ACK-ACK-ACK-ACK sound indicative of a major crisis. Within seconds, every bird within ear shot had picked up this distress call - clearly, something very bad had happened in the local parrot community!

Within moments, several members of our group hurried over to help the injured parrot and block traffic. Frankly, I wasn't optimistic about the bird's prospect. Surely this kind of high speed impact would have resulted in a broken wing, internal injuries, or worse. But the Quaker on the street flapped back into the air and landed on a branch of a low tree.

There we had a chance to inspect him at close range: he looked stunned, but no further signs of injury were visible. About a minute later, after collecting himself, he flew off to join his mates again.

I continue to be amazed at how resiliant our wild parrots are. You have to be tough to survive on the streets of this borough!

Wild Brooklyn Parrot Comedy!

Last week, at the Benefit For Stephen Baldwin, I was asked to show a short PowerPoint Presentation illustrating the story of Brooklyn's famed wild parrots. Thanks to Maggie Clarke and Beatle Jane for getting this on tape.

If you'd ever like me to present at your Bird Group, Parrot Enthusiasts Gathering, or Comedy Club, please send me e-mail.

Friday, June 04, 2010

New York City Needs YOU!

More Musicians Arrested in Central Park Conservancy-Backed Anti-Music CrackdownA nice person from the Mayor's office asked me to bring the following news to the BrooklynParrots.com readership: the City of New York needs good people, either recent college grads or experienced professionals to devote a year of service to the City. There are hundreds of interesting volunteering opportunities. You can even design your own position and work schedule if you can't afford to volunteer full time. These volunteer positions do pay something; $1,163 per month, which isn't enough to support a lavish NYC lifestyle, but might work for you if you have another source of income. You must apply for these positions online, but the application deadline is June 30, so act now if you're interested. For more info, go to: http://www.nyc.gov/service.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

NY Magazine: A Benefit for Stephen Baldwin, But Not That Stephen Baldwin

NY Magazine: A Benefit for Stephen Baldwin, But Not That Stephen Baldwin
From left to right, Patrick Borelli, myself, and Jon Benjamin

WOW - last night's event got a nice write up in New York Magazine.

I had a blast last night - the comedy was great and it was such a trip to play with THE MEETLES on an actual stage with a real sound system! Thanks to everybody who showed up - we hope you enjoyed the show - the wild parrots of Brooklyn thank you!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Please Join Me in Brooklyn Tonight!


If you're in Brooklyn tonight - please join me and friends for a benefit for me (I'm the Stephen Baldwin who's not the distinguished actor but the parrot guy, AKA the "other" Stephen Baldwin).

The event is at The Bell House, and all proceeds got to help Brooklyn's wild parrots, and a good time is guaranteed for all. We'll have some great comedians, Eugene Mirman, Jon Glaser, Jenny Slate, Kurt Braunohler, Kristen Schaal, David Rees and THE MEETLES will play as well. Thanks to Patrick Borelli and Jon Benjamin for organizing this surreal and fun event.

You can buy tickets here - showtime is 8:00PM.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Quaker Parrots Invading Lower East Side!



Can Wild Parrots Survive on Manhattan's Lower East Side? (photo credit: Stephen Baldwin)

Credible reports have surfaced that at least one bold pair of Quaker Parrots is attempting to colonize Manhattan's hallowed Tompkins Square Park, the locus of much countercultural history. I haven't been to this site in awhile (the last time I was there was shortly after the tumultuous riots of the late 1980s) so I can not personally vouch for these reports. All I can say is that Quaker Parrots are tough, streetwise birds and if any form of avian life can thrive in Tompkins Square park, these beasties -- which the article's author characterizes as a "freaky new species" -- are them.