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Friday, January 28, 2011

Care To Count Wild Parrots This Weekend?

The first ever World Parrot Count is happening this month. The Count is a project of the International Ornithological Union. Its purpose is "neozoon parrots, meaning parrots which have been introduced by man to locations they are not native to." You can learn more about the count, and contribute your findings, on World Parrot Count home page.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Richard Henry, Legendary Kakapoo Who Saved His Entire Species, Dead at 80

Let's raise a glass to Richard Henry,
the legendary Kakapoo parrot without which the entire Kakapoo species might well be lost to the world. Back in 1975, when the Kakapoo - an odd, flightless creature right out of Dr. Seuess - was thought to be extinct, scientists stumbled upon the middle-aged Richard Henry in Fiordland, New Zealand. Using the parrot to mate with a couple of surviving hens residing on a different island, thus adding much-needed genetic diversity to the Kakapoo's gene pool, they were able to coax this species back, and it appears that they have a good chance of surviving long-term. For more of this fascinating story, check out TreeHugger.com's article on Richard Henry.

Greek TV Report on Brooklyn Parrots



Angelike Contis, who produced a nice segment for Greek television on our favorite wild parrots, informed me that this segment is now online and so I've embedded it above. Thanks, Angelike!

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.

Friday, January 07, 2011

NEWS FLASH: Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. Reintroduces Monk Parakeet Protection Acts!

The following message comes from Barry Schwartz, a leading NYC-based friend of our wild parrots. The reintroduction of these acts will do much to help Brooklyn's wild Monk Parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots), who currently have no protection in the State of New York.
 
Friends:
 
I am pleased to announce that NY State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr., true to his word and commitment to Monk Parakeets and pet store practices, reintroduced the following bills on January 6, 2011 in the NY State Senate (please note the new bill numbers):
 
S01255 Makes Monk (Quaker) parakeets, protected birds (also cosponsored by Sen. Perkins)
S01246 Enables the "monk parakeet protection act"
Both above have already been referred to the NY State Senate Environmental Conservation Committee
 
S01253 Relates to the sale of birds by pet dealers
Above referred to the NY State Senate Agriculture Committee
 
Please write to your local NY State Senator asking him/her to support these bills. Even if you are not in NY State, please write or email Sen. Addabbo in support:

Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.
188 State Street Room 815, Legislative Office Building

Albany
, NY 12247
United States
Phone:
(518) 455-2322
Fax:
(518) 426-6875

 A really big thanks to Sen. Addabbo for his continuing interest in these issues. We hope that NY State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal will continue her support with reintroduction of the similar Assembly bills.
 
Barry & Gayle Schwartz
Feathered Friends Parrot Adoption Services, Inc.
Maspeth, NY