Sunday, March 16, 2014

Treacherous NY Winter Fails to Dislodge Wild Parrots From Brooklyn

Today was the first nice Saturday in a long time. But I almost dreaded going outside, because I have neither seen nor heard from Brooklyn's wild parrots for several months. I've seen sparrows, starlings, crows, plenty of gulls, and a few raptors, and all of them looked miserable.

Because my thinking tends toward the catastrophic, I've been worried that this past winter might be just too much for the birds. Were this to be the case, I might as well leave Brooklyn -- after all, I came here because of the parrots.

But low and behold, around five o'clock, in Bay Ridge, I heard what sounded like a machine with sand in its gears. It was, of course, a bunch of parrots having an argument. I looked up and one of the parrots flew right down and landed next to me on a metal railing.

The parrot didn't say anything -- he just gave me one of those stern Brooklyn looks that indicated "we've been here all the time, buddy -- where the heck have YOU been?" Then he flew off and went back to work.

These parrots aren't going anywhere.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Gizmo The Quaker Parrot, Seized in Pennsylvania, Comes Home After Court Battle

This is not an actual photo of Gizmo,
but he looks a lot like this bird.
Remember Gizmo -- the Quaker Parrot seized by officials from the Pennsylvania Game Commission? We wrote about Gizmo and his owner Faith Faye Good in September, after she sued the Game Commission for confiscating Gizmo and transferring him to a state facility. Well, Gizmo is finally home -- after a successful court battle and the payment of a $500 fine. Quaker Parrots are illegal in Pennsylvania, but Ms. Good acquired the bird legally, and it's great to learn that Gizmo is back where he belongs. The state will not allow Gizmo to mate, or leave Ms. Good's home, but this is much a happier resolution than many had foreseen.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Saving The World's Unlikeliest Bird From Extinction

Great article today in The Independent about the Kakapo -- New Zealand's legendary, flightless, ultra-heavy, Dr. Suess-like parrot species that's fighting a battle against extinction. There's something inspiring about a bunch of humans -- including the genius who decided to repair a crushed Kakapo egg with tape and glue to save the prized chick within -- joining forces to keep this strange, charming creature protected from annihilation.

Stories like this can lead me to believe -- even though it flies in the face of so much evidence -- that we humans may have a chance too.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Grumpy Cat Declines in Internet Influence

Data Source: Google Trends
New data published by digital marketing firm Didit tracks the decline and fall of Grumpy Cat -- last year's biggest feline phenomenon. According to the data -- drawn from Alexa and Google Trends -- Grumpy Cat's Internet-based popularity peaked in late 2012, and while significant traffic bounces caused by major media attention happened in the ensuing months,visibility indications continue to slope downward through 2014.

Data Source:
Grumpy Cat will likely remain marginally popular -- at least with die-hard humans who find the cat irresistible. But Grumpy Cat is stuck with the fact that he's a feline, and felines have not competed well in the past 12 months with dogs and cats in terms of Internet awareness. This appears to be a "long term secular trend," perhaps stimulated by the widespread adoption of bird-oriented mobile apps such as Angry Birds and Flappy Birds.

Data Source: Google Trends