Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Sad News (But Some Hope) From The Bronx

In the past 24 hours, I have received two reports from correspondents in the Bronx on the current status of the wild parrot colony at Pelham Bay Park, which was displaced due to a light replacement project that began last year. As I reported earlier, the timing of this removal was controversial, because it exposed the wild parrots to both severe weather conditions (which the Parks Departments claims surprised them) and deprived them of protection against the many predators, including multiple falcons and hawks, which reside in the area.

My first correspondent has reported that the parrots are "gone" from the area, and that he has reported finding at least two dead wild Quaker Parrots, one of which appears may have died from exposure, the other from a hawk attack.

My second correspondent's report is more optimistic. He notes that a group of parrots - numbering about 20 - is still alive and active in the area. These parrots are "homeless" but are still trying to survive in the Park, taking shelter at night "under the arch that has vines directly next to the public restrooms at the playground." He also notes several hawk attacks on the parrots which may be reducing their numbers further.

There is some good news here. The Parks Department is evidently trying to design and deploy a metal platform that will be housed several feet below the stadium lights. The purpose of this platform is to allow the parrots to rebuild their once capacious colonial nests.

Let us hope that the parrots survive long enough to rebuild. They still face a long winter ahead, and as we all know, NYC's weather can be brutal in February. But if the parrots can hold out against the cold and the avian predators, there's a good chance that Pelham Bay's wild parrot colony need not become extinct.

I am also happy to say that on 1/1/11, NYS Assembly Member Rosenthal introduced legislation into the State Assembly.Bill A01718 that will make Monk (Quaker) parakeets a protected bird. This bill was referred to the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee. While there is no guarantee that it will pass (there are some who continue to view our wild parrots as "illegal avians," let us hope that kindness will prevail over avian xenophobia this time round.

For those unfamiliar with Pelham Bay Park's wild Quaker Parrot colony, I embed this video, which I shot several years ago.

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