Sunday, April 27, 2014

Angels and Wild Parrot Action at Green-Wood Cemetery: April 27, 2014

I was out and about at Green-Wood Cemetery this morning. The birds -- including parrots, robins, grackles, and others -- were very active. Here are some photos I took along the way.

This beautiful stone statue, on the gates below the parrots' nests, has been mourning the dead since before the American Civil War. 

Another stone angel -- about a hundred yards from the parrots' HQ,
appears to be standing in heaven.

A purple grackle at the cemetery looks like a character out of Rovio's "Angry Birds."

High above the angels and grackles, even on a Sunday, the parrots are busily building -- and rebuilding --
their impressive colonial nest complex.
Green-Wood Cemetery is the "high ground" in Brooklyn, with views over the harbor.
Looking to the West, the view is mostly industrial, but you can see "Lady Liberty" if you look carefully
at the right-hand corner of the photo.

Robins abound at Green-Wood Cemetery. I counted about 50 in the cemetery on Sunday.

Closer to the main gate, the parrots could be found on the green. Here a bunch of them are having a spirited argument.
Parrot arguments happen a lot during mating season. There's a lot of squawking and posing, but nobody usually
gets bitten. 

This fight ends inconclusively, as do many conflicts in Brooklyn.

Nearer to 5th Avenue, this monk is just about finished severing a twig form a tree.

Next stop: the top of the gate!

These parrots are loud enough to be heard by even a stone creature.

If you're looking to get away from the world, visit Green-Wood. You'll see
Brooklyn in an entirely different way.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lost Parrot: Bensenhurst: $1,000 Reward

A search is now on for a parrot lost in Bensenhurst, Brooklyn. His name is Truman and he is owned by Michael Sazhin, The Parrot Wizard.

Please see these links for more information:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

JetBlue's Shoo Bird Has It Right...

Been tweeting today with the nice folks over at JetBlue (wanted to let them know that even though they're not the largest airline, they're the #1 U.S. Airline on Twitter). Turns out that JetBlue is running a pretty cool new viral video campaign starring a smart pigeon named "Shoo." Nice work, JetBlue!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

The Wild Parrots of Public Lot 1715

On Sunday, I visited Green-Wood Cemetery, home to a large colony of Monk Parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots). The parrots were very active on this beautiful Sunday, with temperatures in the 50s, particularly along the west side of the cemetery, in Public Lot 1715. The lot is situated under several large trees that the parrots use both for food and nest-building materials.

Green-Wood Cemetery Public Lot 1715 is a good place to watch for wild parrots. 

Public Lot 1715 is at the western edge of the cemetery, close to 5th Avenue.

Myiopsitta Monachus could be observed on the grounds.

The birds gathered for many minutes, and much chattering was observed.
The parrots were on the ground for about 10 minutes at Public Lot 1715.

Above Public Lot 15 are a number of trees with leaf buds attractive to the parrots. 

The parrots spent a long time nibbling on leaf buds above Public Lot 1715.

The Monk Parakeets were observed consuming grass in the cemetery.

Green-Wood Cemetery's Monk Parakeets have a large communal nest at the main gate.

Monk Parakeets and Railroad Development in Argentina

Because I’m a fan of both wild parrots and railroads, I was always hoping there was some hidden link between them. 
In an abstract to a document first published online on February 5, 2014 entitled Land-use changes and monk parakeet expansion in the Pampas grasslands of ArgentinaEnrique H. Bucher and Rosana M. AramburĂș make reference to the fact that the expansion of the Monk Parakeet (AKA Quaker Parrot) in its native land of Argentina was aided by railroad development post-1850, with railway corridors serving as “expansion stepping stones” for the Monk Parakeet’s steady march from the rural Pampas into cities. 

It’s easy to imagine railroad lines – with their telegraph poles, signal towers, and other steel and wood infrastructure -- serving as ideal nesting platforms for the monks. Colonies of monk parakeets could have easily sprouted up and daisy-chained their way across the expanding linear corridor, which by 1920 had stretched to 40,000 kilometers.

Which is not to say that building nests around railway lines is a good idea. Recently, in Maplewood, New Jersey, a Monk Parakeet’snest was found on (and removed from) a 25,000 power distribution line above an operating commuter railway line before damage to either nest or schedule could be done. Other New Jersey Monk Parakeets have built large nests under railroad bridges near a main CSX main freight line..

It's rare to find Monk Parakeets in proximity to any railroad lines in Brooklyn. A popular legend has it that a pair of monks attempted to build a nest under the F-line elevated line years ago, but if this ever happened the nest was removed by the MTA before its existence was documented.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Photos From April 2014 Wild Brooklyn Parrot Safari

Thanks to everyone who attended today's Safari. Here are some photos of what we saw while looking for Brooklyn's tribes of wild Quaker Parrots. Photo credit: Jule Hanlon.

Our next Safari will be in May - please join us!

We had a small, multi-generational group of urban parrot watchers today.

One of Brooklyn's very vocal Mockingbirds greeted us as we made our way to
Brooklyn College's Wild Parrot "Hot Spot."

As usual, we heard the parrots before we could see them.

Fortunately, there were steel icons guiding our way to the parrots.

We talked about the leaf buds that keep the parrots alive in the wintertime.
Soon we made our way to a place where the parrots could be seen.
The parrots seemed to be happy that the weather in New York is now warmer. 

We inspected their nests for sign of Winter storm damage. We didn't see any.
Here's a photo of the same nest taken in January. While these nests are well-insulated, it still must have been
very cold in there.

Mating season is in high gear for the parrots, so the birds were unusually "frisky."

We are amazed that so many parrots survived what has been one of the cruelest winters in the history of New York.