Update: wild parrots in Connecticut


An August 16 article by Jill Dion in the Milford Mirror provides an update on the wild parrots living in Milford, Connecticut, a coastal coastal city about 50 miles east of New York City.

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.
Read complete article at:


New York’s amazing parrots on video (courtesy of the New York Times)

A couple of weeks ago, we made note of the fact that the New York Times was asking readers to send videos of their parrots to the newspaper.

Well, Times reporter Samantha Stark got the videos, and she’s assembled a master reel of these delightful birds for the Times audience.

If the screen above is black for some reason, just click on the Watch in Times Video link.

Enjoy (and pardon me for any Times-booked ads you must watch: it’s the cost of parrot-centric web content).

New Jersey Parrots Face Terribly Timed Nest Removal tomorrow (April 20)

Wild monk parakeets (AKA Quaker Parrots) have lived in Edgewater, New Jersey, for many years. PSE&G, the local utility company, has over the years removed nests when they’ve interefered with line maintenance, but has worked with the local community to minimize harm to the birds.

In the past, PSE&G has done the intelligent thing: they’ve timed removals for either March or September. In these months, birds are not breeding, there are no eggs or young birds in the nests, and harm and suffering is minimized. Doing this also aligns with the will of the local population; years ago, Edgewater passed a resolution protecting the parrot colony in this way.

Knowing this background, I was shocked to read a press release from a trusted friend of mine, Alison Evans Fragale. As you can see, PSE&G has decided — to my knowledge without community input — to do removals THIS WEEK. Forget the irony of doing this two days before Earth Day: it directly violates the pre-existing understanding.

I am hopeful — but not particularly optimistic at this late date — that PSE&G can be convinced to delay these removals to a time less harmful to the wild parrots — and more respectful of the community’s wishes.

Here is a link to PSE&G’s main contact form. Please use it if you’d like to object to PSE&G’s planned action, which is neither wise nor necessary:

Here is the press release that Alison sent me:
EDGEWATER, NJ: PSE&G has announced their intention to remove wild Monk Parakeet (AKA Quaker Parrots) nests this Wednesday, April 20th, during the beginning of the breeding season.
A resolution passed in the Borough of Edgewater that protects the colony of wild protects strictly forbids nest removals during the breeding season.

PSE&G removed several nests over two weeks ago, but they chose to cease their efforts after four squirrels fell from a nest of River Rd. when a nest was disassembled from the bottom, which caused the baby squirrels to fall to the ground, and two died from their injuries.

A local grass-roots group created to defend the wild parrots, The Edgewater Parrot Society (EPS), witnessed the squirrels injuries and sent photographs to PSE&G by e-mail, and the work was halted that afternoon. PSE&G claimed that none of the existing nests posed any danger to the integrity of their lines.

Founder of the EPFS, Alison Evans-Fragale, has advised PSE&G regarding their nest removals and has offered their suggestions for the timing of and protocol for humane nest removals. Ms. Evans-Fragale said, “Nests are removed twice a year–before and after the breeding season–when eggs or babies are not likely to be found in the nest. The timing of Wednesday’s nest removals concerns us because it is the beginning of the breeding season, when eggs and young babies are likely to be in the nest. Nest removals should NOT be done during the breeding season, except for emergencies, and we question the “urgency” of these removals.

Ms. Evans-Fragale contacted New Jersey Fish and Wildlife, the agency responsible for issuing the Depredation Permits which allows PSE&G to remove the wild parrot nests, to inquire if the agency investigates the validity of the “emergency status” of the work PSE&G claims need to be done. NJ F&W representatives told her that no one at the agency has electrical training, and as such, they have to “take PSE&G at their word” when they apply for a depredation license during the breeding season.

PSE&G has defended their actions, citing the need the remove the nests now, when upgrades to their infrastructure are being made. PSE&G has plans to re-energize six poles in the Borough in the near future.

The New York Times wants to hear about your amazing parrot!


The New York Times gives parrots their due this week in an excellent Science Section article by Natalie Angier.

“Their astonishing beauty and intelligence are inspirational,” notes Dr. Juan Masello, a parrot researcher quoted in the article.

“We call them feathered primates,” notes Irene Pepperberg — a Harvard researcher who’s groundbreaking work into parrot intelligence focused on African Greys.

They’ve got a social network system that would put Facebook to shame, according to Dr. Leo Joseph, who notes that “they’re communicating all the time.” And yes, folks — they can dance, use tools, and think — in context — defying the archaic stereotype of the parrot as a mindless mimicker.

None of this is news to anyone who’s spent much time tracking (or living with) parrots — perhaps the most amazing avians on earth. But it’s great to see the Times take these birds seriously, in a high-profile article likely to get mainstream media traction.

The Times also wants to hear about your amazing parrot. So visit the article page, scroll to the bottom, and let them know about your bird!

BTW, if you want to see some of these amazing creatures — in the wild — right in the middle of Brooklyn, please RSVP for our next Wild Brooklyn Parrot safari, which happens April 2nd. Space is limited, so act today to reserve your perch!

Please don’t buy a parrot: adopt a parrot

close-up-parrot-on-pavementOccasionally people call or e-mail me asking me whether I can help them find a Quaker or other parrot to serve as a human companion. Sometimes these requests seem to me a bit whimsical, and which case I discourage them because my belief is that when you contemplate bringing a parrot into your home, you must prepare to make a significant long-term commitment to an emotionally demanding, highly intelligent creature who might even outlive you. That’s just my personal view (and I know many who don’t share it).

On the other hand, such requests are often serious, for example the well-meaning attempt to find a pet parrot who’s pining for his or her mate a friend of the same species. In this case I’ll do my best to hook the person up with a good parrot adoption agency.

There are many legitimate agencies around, including Adopt-A-Pet (formerly 1-800-Save-A-Pet), which functions as a clearinghouse designed to match birds put out for adoption with prospective human adopters. Using Adopt-A-Pet is easy; just select your pet type, type in your zip code with a travel range, and search. When I searched Adopt-A-Pet today, there were many parrots looking for nice people to care for them.

Another good service is PetFinder.com. Again, just type in the kind of animal you’re looking for, your zip code plus travel range, and you should instantly get results. In New York, there are local sanctuaries — one I recommend is Feathered Friends (based in Queens), because I know Barry Schwartz personally and know how committed he is to parrots who are housed temporarily until they can find new, loving homes.

So please don’t buy a parrot. Adopt one. There are many wonderful birds looking for homes. Please use an adoption service if you’re looking for a companion and are prepared to make the commitment.

Monk Parakeets in the Lone Star state


An excellent, humorously written report on the Monk Parakeets of Texas appeared on November 18th in the Texas Monthly. The report, by John Nova Lomax, is the most comprehensive report I’ve yet read on these parrots’ efforts to colonize Greater Houston and Austin. (According to an e-mail correspondent of mine, the parrots apparently have also established a strong presence in Dallas.)

As Mr. Lomax notes, “it’s getting easier these days to say where in Texas they are not—the Panhandle, far West Texas (aside from El Paso)—instead of where they are.” The ubiquitous, vociferous birds appear to be popular with local residents: in fact, they’ve even earned five stars on Yelp. That’s an accolade that even the wild monks in Brooklyn have yet to earn!

The article also includes some on-point observations about the outsized personality of these birds, their penchant for controlled aggression, and their wily intelligence.

Great job, Mr. Lomax!

Read complete article: http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/weve-got-the-monk-parakeet/