Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Wild Parrots Of Brooklyn


One of the joys of Brooklyn, New York, is its diversity, and some new residents that have lived here since the 1960's have been wild Monk or Quaker parakeets, who are originally from Argentina. Thought to be long-ago escapees from a shipment container at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the parakeets have become accomplished city dwellers, building their nests on power line transformers and on high towers and steeples.

Most Brooklyn parrots live in colonies of 50 or 60 birds. At Green-Wood Cemetery they inhabit the soaring Gothic spires above the front gate on the Fifth Avenue entrance, as seen in the photo above.
Their nests can be vast hundred pound constructions, with foyers and anterooms and a space where the females lay eggs.

Brooklyn Parrots
source
A close up of the nests in the cemetery's gate spire.

The bright green parrots are loud and chatty and can be quite amusing to watch. as you can see in the Youtube video below as they compete for some food along with the usual New York resident pigeons, sparrows and squirrels. In the wild they exist on seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, leaf buds, blossoms, insects, and insect larvae
Please turn off my blog's music before viewing the video by going to the playlist on the right sidebar and clicking on the two solid bars in it's header.



is a web site run by Steve Baldwin, who is "an author, photographer, multimedia producer, parrot fan and Brooklyn buff who's taken it upon himself to spread the word about what he calls 'one of the great natural wonders of New York:' the feral parrots of Brooklyn." Visit his web site to see many more photos of these colorful, gregarious birds.
My only hope is that they don't decide to build a nest outside my bedroom window!
Edited 4/19/09 to add: Quite a few people have asked me what the parrots do in the winter. They do not migrate south, they stay in place and seem to tolerate the cold without problems, as the winter temperatures in Argentina where they are natives of, are sometimes also in the low 20's. They live in large numbers in their thick insulated nests, and try to build those nests in protected areas or near electrical power generator lines which emit some heat.
An interesting New York Times story about the ongoing battle Con Ed - NYC's electrical provider - is having with the parrots from this weekend's newspaper can be read at this link.

34 comments:

Jojo said...

What a pretty bird! I had no idea there were feral parrots and while I love bird nests, I can't imagine those enormous nests in my roofline!

Lucy said...

Parrots in NYC. Who knew. Not me. How fun would they be to watch though.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I've seen a piece about these on TV and was amazed that they could live in such a cold climate. Do you get to see them?

Vee said...

Interesting! Their nests are almost as impressive as the spires they've built them upon. Leave it to you, Pat, to find something intriguing for us. I'm sure that you could never run out. Have a wonderful weekend...

TheWritersPorch said...

Pat this was most interesting!
While the Parrots fight the Pigeons feast! HA!
Carol

Joanne Kennedy said...

Hi Pat,

How fun to have wild parrots around. Those nests are amazining!

I've been unable to stop by for awhile and just got caught up. Those dishes you guys ate looked pretty yummy! Glad you got to try them out.

Hows the darling grandson doing? He sure is growing up fast huh?

Well, the house finally sold! So I'm planning my trip out to NY! I'm so excited. I think what I'm going to do is come out for a few days to enjoy the city then hop on a cruise that goes up to Canada and then when I come back spend a few more days before I head home.

If I do that I won't be out your way until Aug though. I just hate the thought of the heat but figured it gets hot here too so why not.

Hugs,
Joanne

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I've never heard of these. What a treat to see!

Gina said...

They're sweet and cheeky birds..love the pic and footage. Hope you're having a lovely weekend Gx

Joyce said...

Pigeons yes but Parrots? A parrot rumble too like West side story. Interesting. Those are some very large nests. I wonder if they go to Boca for the winter?
Joyce

Lisa said...

That's so neat, Pat! I've never heard about nor seen them before, so that video was wild to watch! I'm definitely curious about how they adapt to Winters here, unless (as someone mentioned above) they fly South! I'm heading over to the site about them now :) Thanks so much for posting this!

BTW, what an UGLY, UGLY game today *sigh* Those Indians have done that tp us three times now! Wang needs to get straightened out before he steps foot on any mound again, and something needs to be done about our middle relief, not to mention situational hitting!!

Rhapsody said...

hmmmmmm...........blessings, pretty interesting, oh and those nests are big, my goodness.

Elisa Day said...

Interesting post! The parrots are so pretty

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - Did you see the piece on these parrots in Saturday's NYTimes? Front Page - "Real Parrots, Fake Owls and Con Ed, Stocking Up on Batteries"

black eyed susans kitchen said...

It's hard to believe that such pretty birds could cause so many problems. I was surprised to learn that they can live through our northern winters. Funny, in Europe the Storks build their nests at the top of buildings...Brooklyn has their parrots.
♥, Susan

Mermaid Queen said...

Wow what do the birds do in the winter? Very interesting Pat!
Take care,
Martha

Claudia said...

I had no idea.... how could I have lived in NYC for 30 years and been so ignorant? WHat a wonderful blog posting.

Lorrie said...

Pat this is fascinating. I've never heard of these parrots before. They're beautiful, and those nests--oh my goodness. I would love to see them in Brooklyn some day. Thanks for this great post!

Cori G. said...

Hi Pat, what darling parrots! We have wild ones here only they're a larger variety of parrot. I always wanted them to nest in my neighborhood until one day when they tried. Thankfully the crows weren't about to let them...talk about noise!!!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

xoxox Cori

Rhapsody said...

The pommerac grows in the West Indies/Caribbean Islands as well as Malaysia and Indonesia. Other names include: gulab jamun (Hindi), chom-phu nam (Thai), jambu mawar (Malay), jambu + other adjectives (Indonesian), futomomo (Japanese)including those mentioned on my blog.

You mentioned you like blogs, when you up to it you can visit my other blog at http://rappingonamelody.spaces.live.com/

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Pat,
I can't get over how aggressive they are in the video!
Thanks for a fun an interesting post.

:) Diane

M.Kate said...

Beautiful birds...how fun to watch them. Have a great week Pat, hugs.....M

Tracy said...

Very interesting, Pat! What pretty birds...and so neat to see their nests in the church spires! I do wonder what they do in winter...Happy Days ((HUGS))

Melanie said...

Wow what beauties! I am a fan of the scarlet macaw after seeing them like jewels in a tree on TV. I love bright colours. I imagine it's like seeing strange emeralds flying around NY. How strange and wonderful. :-) Love it!

Lora said...

Wow. Who would've thunk it?:) I had no idea there were wild parrots anywhere outside of jungles, let alone NYC. Thanks for sharing this very interesting tidbit!

Charli and me said...

I heard about these amazing birds a couple of years ago. I do stop by to visit with Steve Baldwin periodically. Wonderful post!

Elizabeth said...

These wonderful birds mean I must make it to Brooklyn pretty soon.
What an enticing post.
Can you believe I have never been to the Botanical Garden there either.

Andrea said...

So glad I found your blog. I seem to be in love with all things New York since my very brief visit last week. And anyone called "Nonna" is alright by me! (Have our own Nonna in the family!).

Rue said...

They are so cute, but mean little buggers, aren't they? LOL I had no idea they were in NY, but then again, I spent most of the time eating and shopping while there LOL

hugs,
rue

Junie Moon said...

How awesome! I've seen Monk Parakeets in the Tampa area behind my brother-in-law's house where they have nested in an old palm tree. I've also seen the wild parakeets on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. But I had no idea they also run amok where you live. How fun.

Lisa's RetroStyle said...

That's so interesting Pat! Thanks for sharing that story...I had no idea. It is so cool that they are there and thriving.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

There are a "community" of these birds up by the George Washington Bridge on the NJ side...in town on the Hudson River called Edgewater. When someone first told me about them I though they were kidding! But there they are...in the tress in front on city hall. :-)

Donna said...

Pat, this post on the wild parrots/parakeets was fascinating! These must be the ones you were referring to when you left a comment for me... I had no idea they could survive the winters of New York!... Donna @ An Enchanted Cottage

dana said...

I actually saw something on TV about the feral parrots, Pat, but had forgotten about them until reading this great post! Those nests are just amazing! I loved the video and chuckled as I watched the parrots go at each other, while the pigeons, sparrows and one squirrel went about their merry ways!! What an interesting read!! Dana

Fifi Flowers said...

We have HUNDREDS of wild parrots in our neighborhood... they are soooo loud but BEAUTIFUL!