Tuesday, April 26, 2011


DEFRA, the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, is launching what it terms an "eradication" program directed at Monk Parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots), according to the UK publication The Guardian. This is a terrible precedent, which, if it happens without opposition, will certainly be used by those wishing to purge the U.S.A. of these wild parrots to carry out similar plans.

Please contact DEFRA to state your opposition to these plans. You can call their phone number, which, outside the UK, is 44 (0) 207 238 6951, you can e-mail them at, or you can send them a letter via post to:

Nobel House
17 Smith Square

I fully agree with Andrew Tyler, who is quoted in the Examiner article as follows: "Branding other species as vermin or intruders is intolerant and selfish. The danger is overstated. We should stop the importation of these birds which are sold as commodities and endure lives of boredom in cages. It's not surprising they want to escape. If we are serious about coexisting with other species, we have to concede them territory."

Special thanks to Paul of the QP list for letting us know about this situation.

Friday, April 22, 2011 Raves For Rio

I'm not a big movie goer these days, but I made a point of seeing Rio, the big new animated movie about parrots, and I wasn't disappointed. This movie is eye-poppingly gorgeous, funny, touching, the music is infectious, and it's got heart. It also successfully tells an important story about endangered wildlife to the next generation of humans to inherit our world, and that's no small achievement. Even if you only have a passing interest in parrots or wildlife issues, I think you'll love it. I saw Rio, with my daughter, in 3D, and it was worth spending the extra money for the third dimension because you really feel as if you're "in flight" with the birds when they're soaring and wheeling through the jungle.

We were both delighted, agreeing that Rio is "everything a movie should be." Sure, my role as local pro-parrot guy makes me biased, but if Rio was a turkey I'd tell you the truth. This movie's a winner and you'll leave the theater feeling free and light as a bird.

There's a very good interview with Rio's director, Carlos Saldhana, here, that sheds light on Rio's conception and production.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

From Mysteries of the Mitred Conures of Queens, NY

Wild Conures in Queens, New York, January,
2010. Photo by Dominika Gardocka.
If you've been to this site before, you know about the many wild Quaker Parrots (AKA Monk Parakeets) that have been living wild in New York and other North American cities for many years. These are the types of birds that I track on my monthly wild parrot safaris in Brooklyn.

Much less is known about the elusive flock of wild Mitred Conures that live in Queens. Unlike Quakers, Mitred Conures seem to have the odds stacked against them in urban environments, especially because they don't build free standing stick nests, nor do they come from a climate where they must endure harsh New York-style winters. Still, they've managed to endure here, and a new article by the noted NY birder Seth Ausubel on the wonderful birding site thoroughly discusses these birds - by the far the most mysterious kind of wild parrot in New York City.

Spring Is Here (Which Means You May Find an Injured Animal)

Spring is here, which means lots of young animals are either on the way or already on the planet. Each year I get inquiries from folks finding baby birds or other young critters in distress. The question is always "what should I do?"

As a service to those of you who might come to this site searching for such information, here are two good links, the first to an instructive Wall Street Journal article published today on the issue, the second to an excellent site referenced in the article called Wildlife Rehabber.

Wildlife Rehabber has excellent short-form information on what you should do (and not do) when trying to help a distressed animal, plus a searchable database of wildlife rahabbers who can be of assistance. If you yourself are a wildlife rehabber, you can add your contact information to the site.

As The Scouts, say, it's best to be prepared. So please bookmark Wildlife so that you're ready if and when you need to come to the aid of one of our young fellow creatures in need.

And Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Tickled Penguin

This video pins the cuteness scale into the red zone and consequently has gotten almost a half million views in the past three days. Not a wild parrot, just a penguin being tickled. Behold the power of the Internet!

Angry Birds (Brooklyn Style)!

Sometimes birds aren't angry at egg-stealing pigs; they're just mad at each other. In this video clip, real life "angry birds" in the form of Wild Quaker Parrots duke it out at Brooklyn College. A classic from the video archives.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rio (Animated Parrot Movie) to Open April 15

Rio International Trailer by teasertrailer
A new 3D animated film from the folks who made "Ice Age" is called Rio and it features an endangered parrot in its lead role.Vocal talent includes Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx,, Tracy Morgan, George Lopez, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, Leslie Mann, and Jermanine Clement.

Rio is a fun flick (parrots do Busby Berkley routines and there's lots of fun slapstick. It's also an important flick because lots of kids will learn about how endangered (and cute) parrots - and Mother Earth - really are. I hope this film does well; you can watch more clips from Rio at

While over a dozen different parrot species are featured in this film, no animated characterizations of Quaker parrots (the kind we find in Brooklyn) were included.Someday this may be remedied.