BrooklynParrots.com: A Web Site About the Wild Parrots of Brooklyn

Quaker Parrot Facts, lore, audio files, video clips, photos, pictures, photo comics, and other information about Brooklyn's flocks of wild Quaker Parrots (AKA Monk Parakeets).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Next Wild Brooklyn Parrot Safari: Saturday, May 7, 2011

A wild monk parrot in the Bronx munches on a berry tree
What are wild parrots doing in Brooklyn? It's a long story! (photo credit: Stephen Baldwin)

Attention all Urban Parrot fans: the next Wild Brooklyn Parrot Safari will happen on Saturday, May 7, 2011, at 11 AM. All will please gather at Brooklyn College's Hillel Gate, which is at the intersection of Hillel Place and Campus Road.

Please e-mail me if you want to attend. Note: there is no rain/snow date. for this trip. I ordinarily do not cancel the tour unless the forecast is for sustained inclement weather in which birds will not fly.

Wild Parrot Safari (Brooklyn College): 11:00 AM to 12:30PM
At 11 AM, we'll inspect the Brooklyn Parrots' "Ellis Island." Their large nests around the soccer field represents the first major colony in Brooklyn. The site is easy to get to via public transportation. Just take the Number 2 train (Seventh Avenue IRT) to the end of the line, walk one block Southwest on Hillel Street past the new Starbucks, and look for the main Brooklyn College date. The tour begins at the entrance at 11:00 AM sharp. Allow some extra time, given that the MTA is doing lots of construction/train re-routing on weekends. Driving instructions are available at Brooklyn College's main Web site. Parking is fairly easy to come by in the neighborhood. If you're late, please call me: I'll give you directions so that you can meet up with us if the tour is already in progress.

What to Bring/What to Wear
Please bring a photo ID (this is required by Brooklyn College Security). Bring binoculars and a camera. We'll be exposed to Spring weather outdoors so bring a hat/sunscreen if you have sensitive skin. Please feel free to wear anything except bright orange. For reasons that science has not yet explained, Monk Parrots freak out when you show them something orange.

This Tour is Free, But the Parrots Are Hungry!
The Wild Parrot Safari is free - if you wish to help your hungry urban fejavascript:void(0)athered friends, bring some good bird feed and other treats. Finch food or millet are always welcomed by our hungry urban "peeps."

See you in wild, exotic Brooklyn!

Steve Baldwin, Webmaster, BrooklynParrots.com
steve@brooklynparrots.com

Free-range monk parakeets in Brooklyn

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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!


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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 BrooklynParrots.com video archives.

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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, will.i.am, 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 http://rio.movie-trailer.com/.

 
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.

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Where Eagles Dare...(To Be Streamed Live to the Web!)

A live video feed from a Bald Eagle's nest in Decorah, Iowa, is tantalizing the entire Internet today.

As a pro-parrot partisan, I generally side with the "prey birds" rather than the raptors, but there's something truly delightful about being able to see Mom and Dad Eagle take care of their newly hatched chicks in real time HD. This remarkable video is courtesy of The Raptor Resource Project, a non-profit dedicated to safeguarding the well-being of America's raptors, many of which are increasingly endangered by encroaching civilization. ABCNews.com has a nice write-up of the Eagle Cam. (Note: you'll have to endure a moderately annoying video commercial which precedes the live Eagle Cam, but once you do, you can enjoy life at the nest without further commercial interruptions.) Naturally, the Decorah Eagles (and eaglets) have their own YouTube channel now, which is a great place to check out the highlights.

Go Eagles!

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Hampshire Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Quaker Parrots

Possessing a Quaker Parrot has long been illegal in New Hampshire, but in a surprising move, the NH House of Representatives has voted to allow both the possession and sale of the birds in the state. As reported by BirdChannel.com, the bill, #651, now moves to the Senate. The surprising legislation was prompted by the very public outcry against a decision earlier this year by the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department to begin enforcing a long standing rule banning the parrots, which enraged and mobilized many who keep these amusingly intrepid birds as companions. You can follow the process of this legislation at: http://www.boaf.com/quakers/index.html

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Wild Brooklyn Parrots in NY Daily News

Nice article in the NY Daily News about the wild Quaker Parrots of Brooklyn College.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Take The A Train (Wild Parrots Invading Harlem?)

A Free-Range Monk Parakeet in New York City. Photo by Stephen C. Baldwin.

I received a very interesting message this morning from a fellow birdwatcher in Harlem. He reports that a group of at least six wild Monk Parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots) have been visiting his bird feeder, which is in the vicinity of 127th and Lenox Avenue, for the past month.

This is tremendous news, of course, to those of us who've been tracking wild parrots in New York City. The Monks have had a very tough time establishing a foothold in Manhattan over the years -- much tougher than in Brooklyn, Queens, or The Bronx. Back in the 1970s, they were forcibly removed from Central Park and last year, an attempt by the parrots to build a colony by Riverside Park was thwarted twice, the first time by vandals and the second time by overzealous State Park officials.

My contact avers that his neighbor claims that the visiting wild parrots have been "coming for years," which I find highly remarkable. He also claims that at one point this group of parrots was traveling with a Cockatoo, which must have been quite a sight.

I cannot explain the appearance of wild parrots in Harlem at this time. Nor do I have any information on where they might be nesting, or whether the flock my correspondent is tracking is possibly related to parrots which have also resided locally at 104th and Amsterdam or at Riverside Park. It's quite possible that this group of parrots has been cruising Harlem for years, unnoticed by the local citizenry amid the general hullabaloo of urban life. All my correspondent can tell me right now is that when the parrots finish eating, they fly away in a westerly direction.

I have asked my correspondent to keep a close eye on the parrots, and hope to report more news of the Harlem Parrots in the near future. In the meantime, all I can say to the citizens of Harlem is congratulations: YOU'VE GOT PARROT!

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

ParrotAlert: An Innovative New Service To Help Find Lost Parrots

If you've ever lost a beloved parrot you know how agonizing the searching and waiting can be. A new site, ParrotAlert.com, has just launched and it uses cutting-edged Web-based mapping technology and crowdsourcing to help people report and find their lost parrots. You don't have to own or have lost a parrot to become a member (which is free). But the more members there are, the greater the likelihood that a lost bird will be spotted, geo-located, recovered, and will make its way back to its original owner.

So far ParrotAlert.com has has 882 registered "eyes and ears" in the U.S. and the more people join, the more effective it becomes. So if you care about the plight of lost parrots and the humans who grieve over them, please hop over to ParrotAlert.com and register as a lost parrot spotter!

Monday, February 07, 2011

New Hampshire Cracks Down on Quaker Parrots

New Hampshire, like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, and a handful of other states, is so fearful that wild Quaker Parrots will escape and run amok that it banned them in 1998. Apparently the ban was poorly enforced, and several stores in New Hampshire have been allowed to sell them. The result is that there are now people in New Hampshire who bought the birds in good faith whose birds are now threatened by the State's new "Get Tough on Quaker Parrots" policy. Suzanne Burke is one of these people, and she's been given a cruel ultimatum by New Hampshire's Fish and Wildlife Agency: either find a new, out of state home for the parrots or face the prospect of the state killing them.

The whole sad situation is summed up in a February 7th article in the Nashau, New Hampshire, Telegraph. Suzanne's own agonized letter to the New Hampshire Legislature describing her plight is available for viewing here.

I don't know exactly what can be done in this case, other than try to help Suzanne Burke find new homes for the little parrots that have buraucrats at the Great State of New Hampshire quaking in their boots.

And thank our lucky stars that New York State's various wildlife agencies have more pressing things to do than hassling pet owners in Brooklyn.

If you can help Suzanne, you can likely get in touch her through David Brooks, the reporter who wrote the story: dbrooks@nashuatelegraph.com.

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.

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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!

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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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Off-Topic For Your Amusement: The Death Metal Parrot!



Finally, a performer who captures the total essence of the "Death Metal" musical genre!

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tis The Season... And The Brooklyn Parrots Store is Ready

It's gift-giving time, and the Brooklyn Parrots Store is well-stocked with items for the parrot lover in your life. We have coffee mugs, T-shirts, bumper stickers, and more. Please support Brooklyn Parrots, which is committed to providing FREE Wild Parrot Safaris in the New York area for all of the region's citizens.

Here are a few of our most popular Holiday items. Please order soon to guarantee delivery before December 25th.


Our ever-popular "Winter Theme" Coffee mug with real-life wild Quaker Parrots frolicking in the snow.


Our popular "I Love You" mug. Your SO will thank you whenever she/he fills up the cup.

Support Your Local (and Lovable) Invasive Species with this popular T-shirt.



Thanks much, folks!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Parks Department Explains Wild Parrot Nest Removals in The Bronx, New York

A representative of the New York Parks Department has explained the recent wild Monk Parakeet (AKA Quaker Parrot) removals at the southward edge of Pelham Bay Park. This explanation occurred on a hastily assembled mailing list, and approval for complete reproduction is pending. But I can say the following with confidence:

The Parks Department appears to have exercised due diligence, but the unfortunate  onset of extremely cold weather surprised them. While a prior post expressed impatience, I am pleased that the Parks Department represented presented such a complete account of steps taken to accommodate the parrots during work which was necessary because some of the existing lighting fixtures at the park were deemed to present a hazard to the public.

I accept all of this, and would only like such removals to take place earlier in the year. Late August through the end of November presents a 14 week period in which such removals can occur without causing unnecessary suffering to the parrots.

People have asked me what to do if they want to help the birds. Please feed them, because they are hungry. The wild parrots we're concerned with don't mind the cold (in fact there's evidence that heat bothers them much more than cold). But they will have expended lots of energy perching on branches. So if you have a bird feeder, please fill it up. Millet or finch food is great (you can find it at the supermarket in the pet food area). Parakeet or parrot food is even better, although food for large parrots is usually ignored: monk parakeets don't have bills large enough to break apart large nuts quickly.

And now, the good news. Wild Quaker Parrots have successfully colonized parts of the Bronx, and an important beachhead at Throggs Neck continues to support parrots. My hope is that any displaced birds from Pelham Bay Park will find their fellows at the Throggs Neck Little League Field, where nesting possibilities abound. Or they could make their way up I-95 to New Rochelle. My point is that even with this recent disturbance, wild parrots will continue to flock in The Bronx for the foreseeable future. This is good news. And for your viewing pleasure, here's a video I shot of the wild Quaker Parrots at Pelham Bay Park in their heyday:

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NY Authorities Remain Silent on Wild Parrot Nest Demolitions in The Bronx

It's been more than 10 days since the wild parrot nest demolitions have occurred in the Bronx' Pelham Bay Park. Contact has been made with the NY Audubon Society apprising the organization of the situation, and also the NY Parks Department. But many questions remain: why were these removals done now (in December, a very cold month; right now it is about 20 degrees with brutal winds)? Were alternate dates considered and rejected? Was the Audubon Society or other groups familiar with the birds contacted prior to the work? Will the new light fixtures even allow any surviving wild parrots to rebuild?  What was the chain of decisions and who approved these decisions?

These concerns have all been communicated to responsible parties at the NY City Parks Department but no answers have forthcoming as of this date.

I generally give high marks to the New York City Parks Department for its general concern over the welfare of wildlife living in City Parks, so I don't want to jump to conclusions here. However as the weather grows cold my fear is that many of the Bronx' population of wild parrots will not survive given the very unfortunate timing of these removals. While it appears that nothing can be done to alleviate the suffering of wildlife at this point, given that the nests have all been taken down, at the very least we deserve some answers to the questions posed above in order that any future actions be taken with proper regard to the interests of wildlife.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

More Information on Pelham Bay Park (Bronx) Monk Parakeet Nest Removals

Wild Monk Parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots) at Pelham Bay Park, The Bronx, New York

I have been receiving more information about the recent actions by the New York City Parks Department in respect to removing wild parrot nests in Pelham Bay Park.This information is all second-hand (I have been unable to travel to the park to make a personal inspection). But I believe it is reliable.

First off, it appears that the lights have been removed, but not the towers themselves. These towers surround the ball fields at the southern edge of the park and have been the locus of the main wild parrot community there for many years.Second, the nets have also been removed along with the lights. It seems that new light fixtures will be installed in the next several weeks.What remains to be seen is whether the new light fixture design preserves the mesh steel maintenance platforms used by the parrots to anchor their nests.If not, the parrots cannot possibly be able to rebuild their habitat.

An eye witness to the removals notes that it appears that the parrots have completely disappeared from the Park. It is impossible for me to say whether they are still in Pelham Bay Park, or have already moved on to other locations in the vicinity.


This whole issue is presently being discussed with considerable passion on several pro-parrot mailing lists I regularly monitor. There is still much that no one outside the Parks Department knows about whether the new lights will be bird-friendly. I hope they will be, because the NY Parks Department has taken steps in the past to ensure that light replacement projects do not disturb the birds; this was certainly the case in the recent renovation project at Brooklyn's Leif Erickson Park. My hope is that similar actions will be taken in respect to the parrots in Pelham Bay Park, but there is much that I still do not know about what the outcome will be. I am, however, a bit troubled that this work had to happen in December, when the parrots, denied of their shelter and exposed to the avian predators that reside in Pelham Bay Park, may face considerable difficulties surviving the winter.

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