Next wild parrot safari: October 7, 2017

Here 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, 10/7/2017 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.

brooklyn-parrot-safari-map-brooklyn-college-revised

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!

3-parrots-on-pavement (2)

Parking
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.

chicago-parrots-nest-buildi-785907

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 late 1970s as part of an inadvertent or possibly intentional release.

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

june4_bronx_berries1-734776

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!

Pizza parrots!

pizza-parrots-duet
Two wild parrots on Brooklyn’s Bedford Avenue enjoy some fresh-caught pizza.

With all the hoopla surrounding Pizza Rat, I’d thought I’d add a few photos I snapped a few years back of some wild Brooklyn Parrots (AKA Monk Parakeets/Quaker Parrots) enjoying pizza on Bedford Avenue.

These photos were NOT staged. The pizza slice in question was discarded on the sidewalk. Two parrots on watch saw the slice, they flew over, and air-lifted it into the tree. The slice was shared and largely devoured by the parrots; but one large fragment was dropped and enjoyed subsequently by a local sparrow.

pizza_tough_crust-798179
Thin crust, sauce, and cheese: perfection!
pizza_sharing_slice-723637
Pizza isn’t unknown in Argentina, but it’s a lot easier to come by in Brooklyn.
pizza_contentment-776706
Look at this bird’s face. That is one satisfied example of charismatic megafauna!
sparrow2-725915
Sparrows like it too.