The Bronx, like Brooklyn and Queens, has been a wild parrot hot spot since the early 1970s. There are two main flocks of interest, the first at the south end of Pelham Bay Park, very near the #6 IRT end of line,’
The Pelham Bay Park Flock
According to local residents, the parrots in Pelham Bay Park have lived there since the 1970s. In 1998, a truck accident on the Hutchinson River Parkway released another dozen birds into the colony. (This account is disputed by a correspondent who notes that Hutchinson River Parkway never allowed trucks). Other sources name a car accident near Lehman College as the source of a parrot release.
By 2005, the parrots had built communal nests on eight of the ten 75-foot tall light towers surrounding the baseball field at the southern edge of the park.
Nests were removed in 2008 to renovate the lights. The NYC Parks Department exercised care to minimize the effect on the colony. Losing this much real estate at once likely had an effect on the population.
Among the wild colonies in New York City, the Pelham Bay Park Flock is among the most precarious, thanks to Red-Tailed Hawks, Merlins, and other fast-moving avian predators ranging overhead.
The Throggs Neck Flock
The parrots have had a sizable presence in Throggs Neck, about two miles far from Pelham Bay Park, for many years. The birds built large nests in the old-style light fixtures in the Throggs Neck Little League ball ield for many years.
The Throggs Neck residents I talked to liked the parrots. In fact, many were aggrieved when the parrots’ nests were removed in 2007 to make way for improved lighting.
Due to the nature of City contracts, the removals could only be done in June — the absolute worst time for the birds. But volunteers and NY city workers did the best they could to minimize the trauma. More than 40 eggs and many young birds were found. Non-profit Foster Parrots gave shelter to the recovered birds and eggs.
It’s not clear what brought the parrots to Throggs Neck, although one correspondent names a “car accident under the highway at Lehman college” as a source. Throggs Neck is also only a couple of miles from Rikers Island, where hundreds of birds were said to reside in the early 1970s.
From Throggs Neck, through Pelham Bay Park and then to Glen Island, and ranging up the coast of Connecticut, there’s an unbroken belt where the parrots may have ranged.
In Throggs Neck, the parrots can be found at the Little League baseball field. Recently, wild parrots have been sighted in nearby New Rochelle, and also at Glen Island — only a few miles from Pelham Bay Park. These parrots may visit each other from time to time.