Wednesday, May 22, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Wild Parrots Reported in Upstate New York

A correspondent in Middletown, New York, a town more than 50 miles away from New York City, reports that wild parrots have been sighted on the grounds of Middletown High School.  The parrots have been described as “cute” and “green,” which leads me to believe that they are Monk Parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots), which are widely known to have a high “CQ” (Cuteness Quotient). They were also described as “unbelievably loud,” a known characteristic of Monks.

While no photographs are yet available of the upstate parrots, has analyzed satellite imagery and aerial photos of the site. While no nests are visible in these images, tall light poles of similar design to those seen in Brooklyn have been identified. These poles -- which are at least 40 feet tall and include the type of maintenance basket favored by the parrots as a nest substructure -- would serve as ideal nesting platforms for the parrots.

I personally have heard rumors of there being wild parrots “somewhere upstate” for years, but this is the first actual eyewitness account I am aware of.  Which leads to larger questions – how did these parrots get to Middletown? Was it a breakaway group moving North from Bergen County, or a mass escape from a pet store? (Quaker Parrots are legal to sell in New York State). How have the parrots managed to  evade the many avian predators in the area? I hope to have more information on the Middletown Wild Parrots in the near future – in the meantime this is cause for celebration for New York State wild parrot watchers.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NJ Parrots Shut Down Transformer, Causing Outage to 500

Early on the morning of May 8th, a wild parrot nest in Leonia, New Jersey caused a transformer to shut down, causing a 90-minute loss of electrical power to 500 PSE&G customers.

Repair crews quickly fixed the problem and power was restored by 4:30 AM.

PSE&G, like Con Edison, must keep an eye on the size of parrot nests, especially those located at the base of transformers, because it is possible for the nest to interfere with the operation of cooling fans located at the base of the transformer. The parrots like to build nests under this vent because the flow of warm air provides heat through the winter. Unfortunately this practice can cause the transformer to overheat when the weather gets warmer.

PSE&G, like Con Edison, has a "no kill" policy vis a vis the parrots. Offending nests will be removed, but the birds will be left alone, and alternative nest platforms can be constructed nearby in an attempt to woo the parrots away. Unfortunately, these are not heated, so the parrots cannot always be convinced to relocate.

For more on this story, visit this page:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Green-Wood Cemetery Celebrates 175 Year Anniversary

Green-Wood Cemetery is a spectacular, wild jewel of a place that for reasons unknown remains obscure and almost completely unknown to many New Yorkers. The Huffington Post ran a nice article by Ulat Ilnytsky on Green-Wood’s 175th Anniversary as a working cemetery. The Wild Quaker Parrots of Green-Wood are among its most spectacular features. These raucous parrots have only been on site since the 1960s, but they’re doing well (the management of the Cemetery likes them and looks after them) and should have a long and bright future ahead there.