Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Off-Topic For Your Amusement: The Death Metal Parrot!

Finally, a performer who captures the total essence of the "Death Metal" musical genre!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tis The Season... And The Brooklyn Parrots Store is Ready

It's gift-giving time, and the Brooklyn Parrots Store is well-stocked with items for the parrot lover in your life. We have coffee mugs, T-shirts, bumper stickers, and more. Please support Brooklyn Parrots, which is committed to providing FREE Wild Parrot Safaris in the New York area for all of the region's citizens.

Here are a few of our most popular Holiday items. Please order soon to guarantee delivery before December 25th.

Our ever-popular "Winter Theme" Coffee mug with real-life wild Quaker Parrots frolicking in the snow.

Our popular "I Love You" mug. Your SO will thank you whenever she/he fills up the cup.

Support Your Local (and Lovable) Invasive Species with this popular T-shirt.

Thanks much, folks!

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:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NY Authorities Remain Silent on Wild Parrot Nest Demolitions in The Bronx

It's been more than 10 days since the wild parrot nest demolitions have occurred in the Bronx' Pelham Bay Park. Contact has been made with the NY Audubon Society apprising the organization of the situation, and also the NY Parks Department. But many questions remain: why were these removals done now (in December, a very cold month; right now it is about 20 degrees with brutal winds)? Were alternate dates considered and rejected? Was the Audubon Society or other groups familiar with the birds contacted prior to the work? Will the new light fixtures even allow any surviving wild parrots to rebuild?  What was the chain of decisions and who approved these decisions?

These concerns have all been communicated to responsible parties at the NY City Parks Department but no answers have forthcoming as of this date.

I generally give high marks to the New York City Parks Department for its general concern over the welfare of wildlife living in City Parks, so I don't want to jump to conclusions here. However as the weather grows cold my fear is that many of the Bronx' population of wild parrots will not survive given the very unfortunate timing of these removals. While it appears that nothing can be done to alleviate the suffering of wildlife at this point, given that the nests have all been taken down, at the very least we deserve some answers to the questions posed above in order that any future actions be taken with proper regard to the interests of wildlife.

Friday, December 10, 2010

More Information on Pelham Bay Park (Bronx) Monk Parakeet Nest Removals

Wild Monk Parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots) at Pelham Bay Park, The Bronx, New York

I have been receiving more information about the recent actions by the New York City Parks Department in respect to removing wild parrot nests in Pelham Bay Park.This information is all second-hand (I have been unable to travel to the park to make a personal inspection). But I believe it is reliable.

First off, it appears that the lights have been removed, but not the towers themselves. These towers surround the ball fields at the southern edge of the park and have been the locus of the main wild parrot community there for many years.Second, the nets have also been removed along with the lights. It seems that new light fixtures will be installed in the next several weeks.What remains to be seen is whether the new light fixture design preserves the mesh steel maintenance platforms used by the parrots to anchor their nests.If not, the parrots cannot possibly be able to rebuild their habitat.

An eye witness to the removals notes that it appears that the parrots have completely disappeared from the Park. It is impossible for me to say whether they are still in Pelham Bay Park, or have already moved on to other locations in the vicinity.

This whole issue is presently being discussed with considerable passion on several pro-parrot mailing lists I regularly monitor. There is still much that no one outside the Parks Department knows about whether the new lights will be bird-friendly. I hope they will be, because the NY Parks Department has taken steps in the past to ensure that light replacement projects do not disturb the birds; this was certainly the case in the recent renovation project at Brooklyn's Leif Erickson Park. My hope is that similar actions will be taken in respect to the parrots in Pelham Bay Park, but there is much that I still do not know about what the outcome will be. I am, however, a bit troubled that this work had to happen in December, when the parrots, denied of their shelter and exposed to the avian predators that reside in Pelham Bay Park, may face considerable difficulties surviving the winter.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Report: NY Parks Department Demolishing Bronx Wild Parrot Colony

Bronx wild parrots at home in Pelham Bay Park
A concerned resident of Pelham Bay Park called me today with sad news. The Parks Department is removing the light poles around the two ball fields at the south of Pelham Bay Park. The fixtures atop these poles have served as habitat for a large colony of Bronx-based wild Monk Parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots) for nearly 40 years. According to my correspondent, the wild parrot nests are being demolished as the poles are removed. He tells me the work is being done by the NY Parks Department.

Without these poles in place, the parrots will most certainly disperse. Where they will go is anyone's guess. Also, the timing of these removals is problematic. While it is not the absolute worst time to perform these nest removals, this work should have been done several months earlier -- before the onset of cold weather.