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
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.