Monk Parakeets in the Lone Star state

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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/

Wild Parrots in Manhattan…

parrots_with_pigeon2-correctedOkay — I’m getting a lot of private reports about wild monk parakeets showing up in Manhattan. These reports are reliable, and they’re consistent with what I know about who these parrots are, where they’re residing, and why (perhaps) they’ve decided to make a stand on Manhattan.

I’m in the uncomfortable position of knowing more than I’m prepared to report in these pages. I’m not ready to publish X’s and Y’s. Why am I so skittish? Because the last time the Manhattan parrots got a lot of media attention, their nests were vandalized within a week.

I’m paranoid, becaause a similar thing also happened in Brooklyn — right after a big pulse of press attention hit the wires about certain colonies in 2006, an organized gang started poaching them (this gang was ultimately busted in New Jersey but that’s a whole ‘nother story).

It’s frustrating not being able to tell you in detail about what I know. Frankly, it’s a huge thrill that there appears to be a self-sustaining wild parrot colony on “The Rock.” I feel like jumping for joy!

At the same time, however, I’ve realized through bitter experience that I need to keep my big beak shut about them, because — well, lots of people read this site and no — I have no idea who they are, where they’re coming from, or what their intentions are.

So here’s what I’m willing to say:

  1. The birds are somewhere on the upper part of the island.
  2. Their nesting situation appears to be more secure than it was when the vandals struck several years ago. But unfortunately, where they’ve moved may put them in conflict with the City.
  3. At least two good Manhattan residents have agreed to “keep an eye” on the birds

If you want to know more, please contact me personally (steve at brooklynparrots.com).

Wild Monk Parakeets in Corpus Christie, Texas

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Texas is a long way from Brooklyn, but there’s news this week that the same kind of parrot (Myopisitta Monachus) we see in Kings County is making a strong showing in Corpus Christie, Texas. according to an article on the website of the Corpus Christie Caller Times. According to the article, the parrots have lived in Corpus Christie for the past 20 years.


Texas is no stranger to the Monk Parakeet. The state has had the bird on its official State Bird List since 1991, and the Audubon Society recently counted 445 in the state. Wild colonies have been reported in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and other localities.

The parrots’ penchant for nesting in electrical infrastructure has occasionally caused them to clash with utility company TXU, but the company, much to its credit, has sat down with bird groups and parrot fans to develop nest reduction/removal policies that are humane. TXU has even built tall steel alternative nest platforms to woo the parrots from building nests in live electrical infrastructure.

Texas is one of the best bird-watching states and it appears that the Monks have a strong future there.

Super-rare Night Parrot grabbed, tagged, and released in Australia

The Night Parrot, By Martin ThompsonFlyingidiot at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

A Night Parrot – an extremely rare member of the nocturnal parrot family known for its wary elusiveness, has reportedly been captured, tagged and released in the western Queensland part of Australia, according to the website of the Guardian newspaper.

This is a huge deal in the parrot world because Night Parrots (Pezoporus occidentalis) have been almost impossible to photograph — or even see — by humans, with none being visually identified between 1912 and 1979. In the past few years, however, more evidence has accumulated suggesting that this nocturnal, ground-walking, grass-eating parrot, once thought to be extinct, is still alive, although its current population is thought to be as small as 50 birds.

In 2013, the Night Parrot was photographed for the first time, leading to worldwide media coverage, plus concern among naturalists that this extraordinary discovery might lead to unauthorized human attempts to view the animal, thus disrupting the bird’s routine and possibly endangering its existence, which remains precarious due to feral cats, fires, and other hazards.

For this reason the precise location of the Night Parrot has been kept a secret for the past two years. Explorer John Young, who in May 2013 photographed the Night Parrot a few minutes after midnight, is on record as saying he would “rather go to jail than tell anyone where I found it,” according to The Australian newspaper. “The last thing I want to see is hundreds of people out there with night lights,” said Young.

Hopefully, the secret site where the Night Parrot was captured and released will soon be a protected area, according to an article on the website of the Australian Geographic Society.

Note: the wild parrots found in Brooklyn are not nocturnal and are only active during normal business (8 am to 6 pm) hours. Any loud birds observed outside after dark are probably Mockingbirds, not parrots.