DEAR FRIENDS, THE 11/11 SAFARI IS NOW FULLY BOOKED. Please e-mail me if you’d like to attend the next one, which will happen 12/2 Safari – thank you!
Hear ye, hear ye — those interested in observing, documenting, or merely paying respects to one of Brooklyn’s foundational wild parrot flocks, please RSVP for the next Wild Parrots Safari, happening Saturday, 11/4/2017 at Brooklyn College.
Time: 11:00 AM.
This tour is free to the public but space is limited so please rsvp stephencarlbaldwin (at) gmail.com
WE MEET ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE BEME COFFEE HOUSE BY THE BC SECURITY GATE. Look for a man wearing binoculars on a strap bearing a copy of Peterson’s Bird Guide open to Page 98 – that’s me.
Getting there via public transit
Take the 2 Train (IRT Express) to the end of the line in Brooklyn. It’s about a half-hour beyond Atlantic Avenue on the plodding but reliable IRT line.
Once you emerge from the tunnels, head West along Hillel Place to Campus Road, this road runs around the campus and we’ll spend most of our time on it. There is a Starbucks on the corner that has a rest room that is available for customers that you might find convenient given that the trip from Manhattan is a long one.
Please give yourself an ample amount of time. A good rule of thumb is that it will take you an hour and fifteen minutes from the Upper West Side to Brooklyn College on a normal day. But weekends are not always normal on the NY subway system!
There is usually street parking available on Campus Road, although it might be a few steps from the meeting place, which is directly outside the security booth.
What’s Significant About This Flock
The wild Brooklyn Parrots living on or about Brooklyn College have roots that goes back to the early 1970s. It is one of the oldest self-sustaining wild parrot colonies in Brooklyn, and has been noted and documented by various departments of Brooklyn College over the years. It appears that the ancestors of the birds residing there now came from John F. Kennedy Airport in the early 1970s as part of an inadvertent or possibly intentional release.
If you’ve ever lost a beloved parrot, you know how agonizing the searching and waiting can be. A handy site, ParrotAlert.com, launched in 2011, uses cutting-edged Web-based mapping technology and crowd-sourcing to help people report and find their lost/stolen 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 make its way back to its original owner.
So far ParrotAlert.com has has 11683 registered “eyes and ears” in the U.S. Another 18,000 folks have registered across the globe. The more people join, the more effective it becomes. As of October 2017, more than a thousand parrots have been found using the site.
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.”
The site’s founders have recently launched an additional site for lost pets that aren’t parrots: CritterAlert.com.
On page 505 of the December 1973 issue of New York Exotic Birds, John Bull mentioned a colony in Nassau County “nearly 100 feet up on the steel platform of a United States Coast Guard microwave tower at Fort Tilden, Rockaway Beach, Long Island,” along with a grandstand-based nest in Aqueduct Raceway.
Over the past 43 years, Myiopsitta Monachus has continued to establish itself on Long Island (the same landmass as Brooklyn) — along the South Shore. It makes perfect sense that Monk Parakeets — fleeing captivity at Queens’ Kennedy Airport — would choose to install themselves in Nassau County, moving easterly along the coast.
Over the years, numerous sightings from Amityville, Lynbrook, Oceanside, and other Shouth Shore hamlets support the notion that these colonies are self-sustaining.
Today, their living situation in Freeport seems highly favorable, given the mayor’s assertion that “the neighbors seem to like them.”
Monk parakeets can be very good neighbors. As Bull reported back in 1973, “to date, I have heard of no protests about depredations from landowners, gardeners, farmers, or fruit growers.”
It seems clear that consistent local support for the parrots over the past 43 years has given them an edge in the New York area. As Bull wrote, “many feeding station operators, including bored housewives, see to it that their “favorites” come through with bountiful handouts-proof that food, not temperature is the main survival factor.”
Thanks to all who turned out for today’s safari. The parrots were very busy making nest renovations today. All hands — including the kids — seemed to be involved getting the nests ready for the Fall/Winter season.
Ms. Dion notes that these parrots (the same species we find in Brooklyn) have been in the Nutmeg State for a long time, perhaps from as early as 1975. The precise origins of the birds’ appearance in Connecticut are difficult to identify: some maintain that they’re associated with the parrots that busted out of JFK in the late 1960s and early 1970s; others believe that a truck accident on The New England Thruway deposited them in CT. (Highway accidents also have been associated with the appearance of wild parrots in The Bronx, NY).
Connecticut’s flock of wild parrots has generated controversy in the past, most notably in 2006 when United Illuminating, in concert with the USDA, began a short-lived eradication campaign against them.
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