Monday, August 23, 2010

Very Sad News From Manhattan

8/24/10: An updated report on this incident by reporter Carla Zanoni is available here.

Clarification and ApologyIt seems that the nests built by the wild Quaker Parrots in upper Manhattan has been destroyed by vandals. One source reports a "group of local boys and men" destroyed the nest for reasons only they can fathom. I don't have any information suggesting that the birds were harmed in the attack but the group has definitely been displaced. It remains to be seen what will happen to them. This is depressing news because steps were taken to not publicize the nest's precise location in any media mentions of this colony. I hope to develop more news on this sad topic in the future and will report my findings here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Stacey Szewczyk is a talented journalist and video blogger who's written widely for news outlets including The New York Times. Her Blog, Hudson River Stories, provides a first-person perspective on life along the Hudson River. Of late, Stacey has been studying the unexpected appearance of a colony of wild Monk Parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots) in Riverside Park, and I had the pleasure of being interviewed by her on our most recent Wild Parrot Safari. The resultant video segment is embedded here and it presents the first real documentation on this new colony, which represents these wild parrots' best effort at establishing a colony on the island of Manhattan in many years.

Wild Monk Parakeets have, of course, been much in evidence in the outer boroughs, including Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx, for many years, and I've written extensively about these colonies on this site. But the Monks have had a much harder time getting a foothold in Manhattan. Various authorities, including the NYC Parks Department and the USDA have chased them out and eradicated their colonies over the years. There have been a spate of recent sitings of Monks in Manhattan, including a nest on 105th and Amsterdam a few years back, plus reports of a pair living in Tompkins Square Park. But this new colony (whose precise location must remain undisclosed due to security concerns) is the largest one discovered yet.

My hope is that this colony will remain safe from the Monks many enemies, which in the past have included predators (both human and non-human). Only time will tell if this new colony will survive, but, at least for the moment, it's time to celebrate the emergence of these intrepid parrots, and issue the call, far and wide, that "The Monks Have Taken Manhattan!"

Again, many thanks to Stacey taking the time to document these wild parrots and creating this beautiful video.